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Southern Branch 
of the 

University of California 

Los Angeles 

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(Page 92) 

Tom Browns 

By an Old Boy 

(Thomas Hughes ) 

Edited by H.C.Bradby, B.A. 

<.Asststant,^asteir atSiugby School 

Illustrated by 
Hu^h Thomson 

Ginn and Company 

Boston - New York — Chicago - London 
Atlanta -Dallas - Columbus -" San Francisco 


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NVER since 1857, when it first appeared, 'Tom Brown's 
H School-Days ' has maintained its position by uni- 
• ^ versal consent as the best of school stories, and it 

still enjoys a wide popularity on both sides of the Atlantic. 
Gratifying as this must be to a Rugbeian proud of the 
')' fame of his school, it may seem at first sight a little sur- 
^ prising. The book contains so much local colour, and the 
n\vo conditions of school fife under which its readers are brought 
up are so different from those described in it, that it might 
be expected to appeal less strongly to this generation than 
to the one for which it was written, 
y^ The truth is that the book continues to live, in spite of 
^ the fact that its setting must seem strange to many of its 
readers, because of the sympathy and insight with which 
the author paints the unchanging characteristics of boys. 
Conditions change, and the ways in which characteristics 
show themselves alter ; but the types remain. Bullying of 
the kind described has passed away, but there are still 
Flashmans to be found, both in schools and in the outer 
world. A detailed organization and a stricter supervision, 
compulsory games, military training corps, and regulated 
societies for the pursuit of natural history and other sub- 
jects have robbed school life of much of the opportunity 
for enterprise and initiative, both good and bad, wnich'*'was 
afforded in less methodical times ; but the enthusiast like 


• •■A 
Martin, the enterprising rebel like East, the sturdy jolly boy 

like Tom Brown himself, are still familiar types. It is this 
sympathy with and insight into the point of view of boys 
which gives the book, like all books which show a real ap- 
preciation of human nature, a permanent interest and value. 

And if the conditions of school life have altered, and 
many of the scenes in the book, such as the roasting of the 
hero and the great fight, no longer recall similar experiences 
to the mind of the reader, yet the book has an enormous 
advantage over its successors in the very fact that the school 
life of the time was much more picturesque and full of 
variety than the highly organized life with which the modern 
author must Seal. The struggle against the bully Flashman, 
the great fight, the quarrel with ' Velveteens, ' are perhaps 
among the most interesting episodes of all. And besides 
that, in the scenes which have become an inevitable part of 
any school story, — the football and the cricket match, the 
run, the scene in 'form,' — Hughes has the great advantage 
of being first in the field. The modern writer cannot dis- 
pense with these incidents, for they provide the dramatic 
moments of school life; but all the time he must feel that 
it has been done before and that he is inviting comparison. 

For the description of the school life of his day Tom 
Hughes was singularly fitted. Eager, loyal, sympathetic, in- 
tensely interested in life, devoted to the great headmaster 
who had done so much for him, for Rugby, and for public 
schools in general, he threw his whole heart into the work, 
and all unconsciously raised for himself an abiding monu- 
ment. The modern boy may think that in places he points 
the moral at unnecessary' length. It was the fashion of his 
time, when the earnest author perhaps gave the reader too 



little credit for being able to draw the moral for himself. 
But the most captious critic will feel nothing but admiration 
for the life and vigour and true dramatic instinct with which 
in his simple colloquial style he brings on his stage the suc- 
cessive scenes of school life at Rugby in 'the thirties.' It 
is a significant fact that to him alone amongst the many 
distinguished sons of the school has a statue been erected. 
It stands in front of the school museum and is the record 
of a feeling which was most happily expressed by an old 
Rugbeian at the unveiling of the statue, when he spoke of 
Hughes as 'the incarnation of the highest form of the British 
schoolboy, the best type of the character of the school which 
moulded him.' 

I have endeavoured to explain in the notes any allusions 
and words that are likely to puzzle a young reader. He will 
not, I hope, interrupt the thread of the story by referring to 
the notes page by page. Let him enjoy the chapter first 
and then turn to the notes, which are placed discreetly at the 
end of the volume to help him to understand anything that 
he may have found obscure. 

The publishers have followed the spelling and style of 
quotation marks used in the original text, in order to 
preserve its character in this new edition. 


L V" ] 












I. The Brown Family 3 

II. The 'Veast' 23 

III. Sundry Wars and Alliances 48 

IV. The Stage Coach 74 

V. Rugby and Football 94 

VI. After the Match 126 

VII. Settling to the Collar 154 

VIII. The War of Independence 184 

IX. A Chapter of Accidents 211 


I. How the Tide Turned 241 

II. The New Boy 259 

III. Arthur makes a Friend 276 

IV. The Bird-Fanciers 294 

V. The Fight 311 

VI. Fever in the School 335 

VII. Harry East's Dilemmas and Deliverances . . . 356 

VIII. Tom Brown's Last Match 375 

IX. Finis 4^3 

NOTES 413 



mwny Shhool. 
o , iw 

'I'm the Poet of White Horse Vale, Sir^ 
With liberal notions under my cap.' 


HE Browns have become illustrious by 
the pen of Thackeray and the pencil of 
Doyle, within the memory of the young 
gentlemen who are now matriculating at 
the Universities. Notwithstanding the 
well-merited but late fame which has 
now fallen upon them, any one at all acquainted with the 
family must feel that much has yet to be written and said 
before the British nation will be properly sensible of how 
much of its greatness it owes to the Browns. For centu- 
ries, in their quiet, dogged, homespun way, they have been 



subduing the earth in most English counties, and leaving 
their mark in American forests and Australian uplands. 
Wherever the fleets and armies of England have won 
renown, there stalwart sons of the Browns have done yeo- 
men's work. With the yew bow and cloth-yard shaft at 
Cressy and Agincourt — with the brown bill and pike under 
the brave Lord Willoughby — with culverin and demi-culverin 
against Spaniards and Dutchmen — with hand-grenade and 
sabre, and musket and bayonet, under Rodney and St. Vin- 
cent, Wolfe and Moore, Nelson and Wellington, they have 
carried their lives in their hands ; getting hard knocks and 
hard work in plenty, which was on the whole what they 
looked for, and the best thing for them ; and little praise 
or pudding, which indeed they, and most of us, are better 
without.. Talbots and Stanleys, St. Maurs, and suchlike 
folk, have led armies and made laws time out of mind ; but 
those noble families would be somewhat astounded — if the 
accounts ever came to be fairly taken — to find how small 
their work for England has been by the side of that of 
the Browns. 

These latter, indeed, have until the present generation 
rarely been sung by poet, or chronicled by sage. They have 
wanted their ' sacer vates,' having been too solid to rise to 
the top by themselves, and not having been largely gifted 
with the talent of catching hold of, and holding on tight 
to, whatever good things happened to be going, — the foun- 
dation of the fortunes of so many noble families. But the 
world goes on its way, and the wheel turns, and the wrongs 
of the Browns, like other wrongs, seem in a fair way to get 
righted. And this present writer having for many years of 
his life been a devout Brown-worshipper, and moreover 



having the honour of being nearly connected with an emi- 
nently respectable branch of the great Brown family, is 
anxious, so far as in him lies, to help the wheel over, and 
throw his stone on to the pile. 

However, gentle reader, or simple reader, whichever you 
may be, lest you should be led to waste your precious time 
upon these pages, I make so bold as at once to tell you the 
sort of folk you '11 have to meet and put up with, if you and 
I are to jog on comfortably together. You shall hear at 
once what sort of folk the Browns are, at least my branch 
of them ; and then if you don't like the sort, why cut the 
concern at once, and let you and me cry quits before either 
of us can grumble at the other. 

In the first place, the Browns are a fighting family. One 
may question their wisdom, or wit, or beauty, but about their 
fight there can be no question. Wherever hard knocks of 
any kind, visible or invisible, are going, there the Brown 
who is nearest must shove in his carcass. And these car- 
casses for the most part answer very well to the character- 
istic propensity ; they are a square-headed and snake-necked 
generation, broad in the shoulder, deep in the chest, and 
thin in the flank, carrying no lumber. Then for clanship, 
they are as bad as Highlanders ; it is amazing the belief 
they have in one another. With them there is nothing like 
the Browns, to the third and fourth generation. ' Blood is 
thicker than water,' is one of their pet sayings. They 
can't be happy unless they are always meeting one another. 
Never were such people for family gatherings, which, were 
you a stranger, or sensitive, you might think had better not 
have been gathered together. For during the whole time 
of their being together they luxuriate in telling one another 



their minds on whatever subject turns up ; and their minds 
are wonderfully antagonistic, and all their opinions are down- 
right beliefs. Till you 've been among them some time and 
understand them, you can't think but that they are quarrel- 
ling. Not a bit of it ; they love and respect one another 
ten times the more after a good set family arguing bout, and 
go back, one to his curacy, another to his chambers, and 
another to his regiment, freshened for work, and more than 
ever convinced that the Browns are the height of company. 

This family training, too, combined with their turn for 
combativeness, makes them eminently quixotic. They can't 
let anything alone which they think going wrong. They 
must speak their mind about it, annoying all easy-going folk ; 
and spend their time and money in having a tinker at it, 
however hopeless the job. It is an impossibility to a Brown 
to leave the most disreputable lame dog on the other side 
of a stile. Most other folk get tired of such work. The old 
Browns, with red faces, white whiskers, and bald heads, go 
on believing and fighting to a green old age. They have 
always a crotchet going, till the old man with the scythe reaps 
and garners them away for troublesome old boys as they are. 

And the most provoking thing is, that no failures knock 
them up, or make them hold their hands, or think you, or 
me, or other sane people in the right. Failures slide off them 
like July rain off a duck's back feathers. Jem and his whole 
family turn out bad, and cheat them one week, and the next 
they are doing the same thing for Jack ; and when he goes 
to the treadmill, and his wife and children to the workhouse, 
they will be on the look out for Bill to take his place. 

However, it is time for us to get from the general to the 
particular ; so, leaving the great army of Browns, who are 



scattered over the whole empire on which the sun never 
sets, and whose general diffusion I take to be the chief 
cause of that empire's stability, let us at once fix our atten- 
tion upon the small nest of Browns in which our hero was 
hatched, and which dwelt in that portion of the Royal county 
of Berks which is called the Vale of White Horse. 

Most of you have probably travelled down the Great 
Western Railway as far as Swindon. Those of you who 
did so with your eyes open, have been aware, soon after 
leaving the Didcot station, of a fine range of chalk hills 
running parallel with the railway on the left-hand side as 
you go down, and distant some two or three miles, more or 
less, from the line. The highest point in the range is the 
White Horse Hill, which you come in front of just before 
you stop at the Shrivenham station. If you love English 
scenery and have a few hours to spare, you can't do better, 
the next time you pass, than stop at the Farringdon-road or 
Shrivenham station, and make your way to that highest 
point. And those who care for the vague old stories that 
haunt country-sides all about England, will not, if they are 
wise, be content with only a few hours' stay : for, glorious 
as the view is, the neighbourhood is yet more interesting 
for its relics of bygone times. I only know two English 
neighbourhoods thoroughly, and in each, within a circle of 
five miles, there is enough of interest and beauty to last 
any reasonable man his life. I believe this to be the case 
almost throughout the country, but each has a special attrac- 
tion, and none can be richer than the one I am speaking 
of and going to introduce you to very particularly ; for on 
this subject I must be prosy ; so those that don't care for 
England in detail may skip the chapter. 



Oh young England ! young England ! You who are born 
into these racing railroad times, when there 's a Great 
Exhibition, or some monster sight, every year ; and you can 
get over a couple of thousand miles of ground for three 
pound ten, in a five weeks' holiday ; why don't you know 
more of your own birth-places ? You 're all in the ends of 
the earth, it seems to me, as soon as you get your necks 
out of the educational collar, for Midsummer holidays, long 
vacations, or what not. Going round Ireland with a return 
ticket, in a fortnight ; dropping your copies of Tennyson on 
the tops of Swiss mountains ; or pulling down the Danube 
in Oxford racing-boats. And when you get home for a 
quiet fortnight, you turn the steam off, and lie on your 
backs in the paternal garden, surrounded by the last batch 
of books from Mudie's library, and half bored to death. 
Well, well ! I know it has its good side. You all patter 
French more or less, and perhaps German ; you have seen 
men and cities, no doubt, and have your opinions, such as 
they are, about schools of painting, high art, and all that ; 
have seen the pictures at Dresden and the Louvre, and 
know the taste of sour krout. All I say is, you don't know 
your own lanes and woods and fields. Though you may be 
chock full of science, not one in twenty of you knows 
where to find the wood-sorrel, or bee-orchis, which grow in 
the next wood, or on the down three miles off, or what 
the bog-bean and wood-sage are good for. And as for the 
country legends, the stories of the old gable-ended farm- 
houses, the place where the last skirmish was fought in the 
civil wars, where the parish butts stood, where the last 
highwayman turned to bay, where the last ghost was laid 
by the parson, they 're gone out of date altogether. 



Now, in my time, when we got home by the old coach, 
which put us down at the cross-roads with our boxes, the 
first day of the hohdays, and had been driven off by the 
family coachman, singing ' Dulce domum ' at the top of 
our voices, there we were, fixtures, till black Monday came 
round. We had to cut out our own amusements with- 
in a walk or a ride of home. And so we got to know 
all the country folk, and their ways and songs and stories, 
by heart ; and went over the fields, and woods, and hills, 
again and again, till we made friends of them all. We were 
Berkshire, or Gloucestershire, or Yorkshire boys, and you 're 
young cosmopolites, belonging to all counties and no coun- 
tries. No doubt it 's all right, I dare say it is. This is the 
day of large views and glorious humanity, and all that ; but 
I wish back-sword play had n't gone out in the Vale of White 
Horse, and that that confounded Great Western had n't 
carried away Alfred's Hill to make an embankment. 

But to return to the said Vale of White Horse, the 
country in which the first scenes of this true and interesting 
story are laid. As I said, the Great Western now runs right 
through it, and it is a land of large rich pastures, bounded 
by ox-fences, and covered with fine hedgerow timber, with 
here and there a nice little gorse or spinney, where abideth 
poor Charley, having no other cover to which to betake 
himself for miles and miles, when pushed out some fine 
November morning by the Old Berkshire. Those who have 
been there, and well mounted, only know how he and the 
staunch little pack who dash after him — heads high and 
sterns low, with a breast-high scent — can consume the 
ground at such times. There being little plough-land and 
few woods, the Vale is only an average sporting country, 



except for hunting. The villages are straggling, queer, 
old-fashioned places, the houses being dropped down with- 
out the least regularity, in nooks and out-of-the-way corners, 
by the sides of shadowy lanes and footpaths, each with its 
patch of garden. They are built chiefly of good grey stone 
and thatched ; though I see that within the last year or two 
the red-brick cottages are multiplying, for the Vale is begin- 
ning to manufacture largely both brick and tiles. There 
are lots of waste ground by the side of the roads in every 
village, amounting often to village greens, where feed the 
pigs and ganders of the people ; and these roads are old- 
fashioned homely roads, very dirty and badly made, and 
hardly endurable in winter, but still pleasant jog-trot roads 
mnning through the great pasture lands, dotted here and 
there with little clumps of thorns, where the sleek kine are 
feeding, with no fence on either side of them, and a gate 
at the end of each field, which makes you get out of your 
gig (if you keep one), and gives you a chance of looking 
about you every quarter of a mile. 

One of the moralists whom we sat under in my youth, — 
was it the great Richard Swiveller, or Mr. Stiggins ? — says, 
' We are born in a vale, and must take the consequences 
of being found in such a situation.' These consequences I 
for one am ready to encounter. I pity people who weren't 
born in a vale. I don't mean a flat country, but a vale : 
that is, a flat country bounded by hills. The having your 
hill always in view if you choose to turn towards him, 
that 's the essence of a vale. There he is for ever in the 
distance, your friend and companion ; you never lose him 
as you do in hilly districts. 

And then what a hill is the White Horse Hill ! There 



it stands right up above all the rest, nine hundred feet 
above the sea, and the boldest bravest shape for a chalk 
hill that you ever saw. Let us go up to the top of him, 
and see what is to be found there. Aye, you may well 
wonder, and think it odd you never heard of this before ; 
but, wonder or not, as you please, there are hundreds of 
such things lying about England, which wiser folk than 
you know nothing of, and care nothing for. Yes, it 's a 
magnificent Roman camp, and no mistake, with gates, and 
ditch, and mounds, all as complete as it was twenty years 
after the strong old rogues left it. Here, right up on the 
highest point, from which they say you can see eleven 
counties, they trenched round all the table-land, some 
twelve or fourteen acres, as was their custom, for they 
could n't bear anybody to overlook them, and made their 
eyrie. The ground falls away rapidly on all sides. Was 
there ever such turf in the whole world .? You sink up to 
your ankles at every step, and yet the spring of it is 
delicious. There is always a breeze in the 'camp,' as it is 
called, and here it lies, just as the Romans left it, except 
that cairn on the east side, left by Her Majesty's corps of 
Sappers and Miners the other day, when they and the 
Engineer officer had finished their sojourn there, and their 
surveys for the Ordnance Map of Berkshire. It is alto- 
gether a place that you won't forget, — a place to open a 
man's soul and make him prophesy, as he looks down on 
that great Vale spread out as the garden of the Lord 
before him, and wave on wave of the mysterious downs 
behind ; and to the right and left the chalk hills running 
away into the distance, along which he can trace for miles 
the old Roman road, * the Ridgeway ' (' the Rudge ' as the 


country folk call it), keeping straight along the highest 
back of the hills ; — such a place as Balak brought Balaam 
to, and told him to prophesy against the people in the 
valley beneath. And he could not, neither shall you, for 
they are a people of the Lord who abide there. 

And now we leave the camp, and descend towards the 
west, and are on the Ashdown. We are treading on 
heroes. It is sacred ground for Englishmen, more sacred 
than all but one or two fields where their bones lie whiten- 
ing. For this is the actual place where our Alfred won 
his great battle, the battle of Ashdown (' Aescendum ' in 
the chroniclers) which broke the Danish power, and made 
England a Christian land. The Danes held the camp and 
the slope where we are standing — the whole crown of 
the hill in fact. ' The heathen had beforehand seized the 
higher ground,' as old Asser says, having wasted ever)'thing 
behind them from London, and being just ready to burst 
down on the fair vale, Alfred's own birth-place and herit- 
age. And up the heights came the Saxons, as they did at 
the Alma. 'The Christians led, up their line from the 
lower ground. There stood also on that same spot a single 
thorn-tree, marvellous stumpy (which we ourselves with our 
very own eyes have seen).' Bless the old chronicler! does 
he think nobody ever saw the ' single thorn-tree ' but 
himself ? Why, there it stands to this very day, just on 
the edge of the slope, and I saw it not three weeks since ; 
an old single thorn-tree, ' marv^ellous stumpy.' At least if 
it isn't the same tree, it ought to have been, for it's just 
in the place where the battle must have been won or 
lost — ' around which, as I was saying, the two lines of 
foemen came together in battle with a huge shout. And 



in this place, one of the two Kings of the heathen, and 
five of his earls fell down and died, and many thousands 
of the heathen side in the same place.' ^ After which 
crowning mercy, the pious King, that there might never 
be wanting a sign and a memorial to the country-side, 
carved out on the northern side of the chalk hill, under 
the camp, where it is almost precipitous, the great Saxon 
white horse, which he who will may see from the railway, 
and which gives its name to the vale, over which it has 
looked these thousand years and more. 

Right down below the White Horse, is a curious deep 
and broad gully called 'the Manger,' into one side of 
which the hills fall with a series of the most lovely sweep- 
ing curv'es, known as ' the Giant's Stairs ' ; they are not 
a bit like stairs, but I never saw anything like them 
anywhere else, with their short green turf, and tender 
blue-bells, and gossamer and thistle-down gleaming in the 
sun, and the sheep-paths running along their sides like 
ruled lines. 

The other side of the Manger is formed by the Dragon's 
Hill, a curious little round self-confident fellow, thrown 
forward from the range, and utterly unlike everything round 
him. On this hill some deliverer of mankind, St. George, 
the country folk used to tell me, killed a dragon. Whether 

^ ' Pagani editiorem locum praeoccupaverant. Christiani ab inferior! 
loco aciem dirigebant. Erat quoque in eodem loco unica spinosa arbor, 
brevis admodum (quam nos ipsi nostris propriis oculis vidimus). Circa 
quam ergo hostiles inter se acies cum ingenti clamore hostiliter con- 
veniunt. Quo in loco alter de duobus Paganorum regibus at quinque 
comites occisi occubuerunt, et multa millia Paganae partis in eodem loco. 
Cecidit illic ergo Boegsceg Rex, et Sidroc ille senex comes, et Sidroc 
Junior comes, et Obsbern comes,' etc. — Annales Rerum Gestarum yEl/redi 
Magni, Anctore Asserio. Receiisiiit Franciscits Wise, p. 23. Oxford, 1722. 



it were St. George, I cannot say ; but surely a dragon was 
killed there, for you may see the marks yet where his 
blood ran down, and more by token the place where it 
ran down is the easiest way up the hill-side. 

Passing along the Ridgeway to the west for about a 
mile, we come to a little clump of young beech and firs, 
with a growth of thorn and privet underwood. Here you 
may find nests of the strong down partridge and peewit, 
but take care that the keeper is n't down upon you ; and in 
the middle of it is an old cromlech, a huge flat stone 
raised on seven or eight others, and led up to by a path, 
with large single stones set up on each side. This is 
Wayland Smith's cave, a place of classic fame now ; but 
as Sir Walter has touched it, I may as well let it alone, 
and refer you to Keiiil-worth for the legend. 

The thick deep wood which you see in the hollow about 
a mile off, surrounds Ashdown Park, built by Inigo Jones. 
Four broad alleys are cut through the wood from circum- 
ference to centre, and each leads to one face of the house. 
The mystery of the downs hangs about house and wood, 
as they stand there alone, so unlike all around, with the 
green slopes, studded with great stones just about this part, 
stretching away on all sides. It was a wise Lord Craven, 
I think, who pitched his tent there. 

Passing along the Ridgeway to the east, we soon come 
to cultivated land. The downs, strictly so-called, are no 
more ; Lincolnshire farmers have been imported, and the 
long fresh slopes are sheep-walks no more, but grow 
famous turnips and barley. One of these improvers lives 
over there at the ' Seven Barrows ' Farm, another mystery 
of the great downs. There are the barrows still, solemn 



and silent, like ships in the calm sea, the sepulchres of 
some sons of men. But of whom ? It is three miles from 
the White Horse, too far for the slain of Ashdown to be 
buried there — who shall say what heroes are waiting there ? 
But we must get down into the Vale again, and so away 
by the Great Western Railway to town, for time and the 
printer's devil press, aiid it is a terrible long and slippery 
descent, and a shocking bad road. At the bottom, how- 
ever, there is a pleasant public, whereat we must really 
take a modest quencher, for the down air is provocative 
of thirst. So we pull up under an old oak which stands 
before the door. 

' What is the name of your hill, landlord } ' 

' Blawing Stw^un Hill, sir, to be sure.' 

[Reader. ' Sturm f ' 

Author. ' Stone, stupid : the Blowing Stone''\ 

'And of your house.-' I can't make out the sign.' 

'Blawing Stwun, sir,' says the landlord, pouring out his 
old ale from a Toby Philpot jug, with a melodious crash, 
into the long-necked glass. 

' What queer names ! ' say we, sighing at the end of our 
draught, and holding out the glass to be replenished. 

' Bean't queer at all, as I can see, sir,' says mine host, 
handing back our glass, ' seeing as this here is the Blawing 
Stwun his self,' putting his hand on a square lump of stone, 
some three feet and a half high, perforated with two or 
three queer holes, like petrified antediluvian rat-holes, which 
lies there close under the oak, under our very nose. We 
are more than ever puzzled, and drink our second glass of 
ale, wondering what will come next. ' Like to hear un, sir ? ' 
says mine host, setting down Toby Philpot on the tray, and 



resting both hands on the ' Stwun.' We are ready for any- 
thing ; and he, without waiting for a reply, apphes his 
mouth to one of the rat-holes. Something must come of it, 
if he does n't burst. Good heavens ! I hope he has no apo- 
plectic tendencies. Yes, here it comes, sure enough, a grue- 
some sound between a moan and a roar, and spreads itself 
away over the valley, and up the hill-side, and into the woods 
at the back of the house, a ghost-like awful voice. ' Um do 
say, sir,' says mine host, rising purple-faced, while the moan 
is still coming out of the Stwun, ' as they used in old times 
to warn the country-side by blawing the Stwun when the 
enemy was a-comin' — and as how folks could make un 
heered then for seven mile round ; leastways, so I 've heered 
lawyer Smith say, and he knows a smart sight about them 
old times,' We can hardly swallow lawyer Smith's seven 
miles, but could the blowing of the stone have been a sum- 
mons, a sort of sending the fiery cross round the neighbour- 
hood in the old times ? What old times ,'* Who knows ? 
We pay for our beer, and are thankful. 

' And what 's the name of the village just below, landlord ? ' 

' Kingstone Lisle, sir,' 

' Fine plantations you 've got here .'' ' 

' Yes, sir, the Squire 's 'mazin' fond of trees and such like.' 

' No wonder. He 's got some real . beauties to be fond of. 
Good day, landlord.' 

' Good day, sir, and a pleasant ride to 'e.' 

And now, my boys, you whom I want to get for readers, 
have you had enough ? Will you give in at once, and say 
you 're convinced, and let me begin my story, or will you 
have more of it ? Remember, I 've only been over a little 
bit of the hill-side yet, what you could ride round easily on 




your ponies in an hour, I'm only just come down into the 
Vale, by Blowing Stone Hill, and if I once begin about 
the Vale, what 's to stop me ? You '11 have to hear all about 
Wantage, the birth-place of Alfred, and Farringdon, which 
held out so long for Charles the First (the Vale was near 
Oxford, and dreadfully malignant ; full of Throgmortons, 
Puseys, and Pyes, and such like, and their brawny retainers). 
Did you ever read Thomas Ingoldsby's Legend of Hamiltoji 
Tighc ? If you have n't, you ought to have. Well, Farring- 
don is where he lived, before he went to sea ; his real name 
was Hamden Pye, and the Pyes were the great folk at 
Farringdon. Then there 's Pusev. You 've heard of the 
Pusey horn, which King Canute gave to the Puseys of that 
day, and which the gallant old squire, lately gone to his rest 
(whom Berkshire freeholders turned out of last Parliament, 
to their eternal disgrace, for voting according to his con- 
science), used to bring out on high days, holidays, and bon- 
fire nights. And the splendid old Cross Church at Uffington, 
the Uffingas town — how the whole country-side teems with 
Saxon names and memories ! And the old moated grange 
at Compton, nestled close under the hill-side, where twenty 
Marianas may have lived, with its bright water-lilies in the 
moat, and its yew walk, 'the Cloister Walk,' and its 
. peerless terraced gardens. There they all are, and twenty 
things besides, for those who care about them, and have 
eyes. And these are the sort of things you may find, I 
believe, every one of you, in any common English country 

Will you look for them under your own noses, or will 
you not } Well, well ; I 've done what I can to make you, 
and if you will go gadding over half Europe now every 

. [i8] 


holidays, I can't help it. I was born and bred a West- 
countryman, thank God ! a Wessex man, a citizen of the 
noblest Saxon kingdom of Wessex, a regular * Angular 
Saxon,' the very soul of me adscriptiis glebae. There 's 
nothing like the old country-side for me, and no music like 
the twang of the real old Saxon tongue as one gets it 
fresh from the veritable chaw in the White Horse Vale : 
and I say with ' Gaarge Ridler,' the old West-country yeoman, 

' Throo aall the waarld owld Gaarge would bwoast 
Commend me to merry owld England mwoast : 
While vools gwoes prating vur and nigh, 
We stwops at whum, my dog and I.' 

Here, at any rate, lived and stopped at home Squire 
Brown, J. P, for the county of Berks, in a village near the 
foot of the White Horse range. And here he dealt out 
justice and mercy in a rough way, and begat sons and 
daughters, and hunted the fox, and grumbled at the bad- 
ness of the roads and the times. And his wife dealt out 
stockings, and calico shirts, and smock frocks, and com- 
forting drinks to the old folks with the 'rheumatiz,' and 
good counsel to all ; and kept the coal and clothes clubs 
going, for yule-tide, when the bands of mummers came 
round, dressed out in ribbons and coloured paper caps, and 
stamped round the Squire's kitchen, repeating in true sing- 
song vernacular the legend of St. George and his fight, and 
the ten-pound doctor, who plays his part at healing the 
Saint, — a relic, I believe, of the old Middle-Age mysteries. 
It was the first dramatic representation which greeted the 
eyes of little Tom, who was brought down into the kitchen 
by his nurse to witness it, at the mature age of three years. 



Tom was the eldest child of his parents, and from his 
earliest babyhood exhibited the family characteristics in 
great strength. He was a hearty strong boy from the first, 
given to fighting with and escaping from his nurse, and 
fraternizing with all the village boys, with whom he made 
expeditions all round the neighbourhood. And here in the 
quiet old-fashioned country village, under the shadow of the 
everlasting hills, Tom Brown was reared, and never left it 
till he went first to school when nearly eight years of age, — 
for in those days change of air twice a year was not thought 
absolutely necessary for the health of all her Majesty's lieges. 
I have been credibly informed, and am inclined to believe, 
that the various Boards of Directors of Railway Companies, 
those gigantic jobbers and bribers, while quarrelling about 
everything else, agreed together some ten years back to buy 
up the learned profession of Medicine, body and soul. To 
this end they set apart several millions of money, which 
they continually distribute judiciously amongst the Doctors, 
stipulating only this one thing, that they shall prescribe 
change of air to every patient who can pay, or borrow 
money to pay, a railway fare, and see their prescription 
carried out. If it be not for this, why is it that none of us 
can be well at home for a year together ? It was n't so 
twenty years ago — not a bit of it. The Browns did n't go 
out of the county once in five years. A visit to Reading 
or Abingdon twice a year, at Assizes or Quarter Sessions, 
which the Squire made on his horse with a pair of saddle- 
bags containing his wardrobe — a stay of a day or two at 
some country neighbour's — or an expedition to a county 
ball, or the yeomanry review — made up the sum of the 
Brown locomotion in most years. A stray Brown from 



some distant county dropped in every now and then ; or 
from Oxford, on grave nag, an old don, contemporary of 
the Squire ; and were looked upon by the Brown household 
and the villagers with the same sort of feeling with which 
we now regard a man who has crossed the Rocky Moun- 
tains, or launched a boat on the Great Lake in Central 
Africa. The White Horse Vale, remember, was traversed 
by no great road ; nothing but country parish roads, and 
these very bad. Only one coach ran there, and this one 
only from Wantage to London, so that the western part of 
the Vale was without regular means of moving on, and 
certainly didn't seem to want them. There w^as the canal, 
by the way, which supplied the country-side with coal, and 
up and down which continually went the long barges, with 
the big black men lounging by the side of the horses 
along the towing-path, and the women in bright-coloured 
handkerchiefs standing in the sterns steering. Standing, I 
say, but you could never see whether they were standing or 
sitting, all but their heads and shoulders being out of sight 
in the cosy little cabins which occupied some eight feet of 
the stern, and which Tom Brown pictured to himself as 
the most desirable of residences. His nurse told him that 
those good-natured-looking women were in the constant 
habit of enticing children into the barges and taking them 
up to London and selling them, which Tom would n't 
believe, and which made him resolve as soon as possible to 
accept the oft-proffered invitation of these sirens to 'young 
Master,' to come in and have a ride. But as yet the nurse 
was too much for Tom. 

Yet why should I after all abuse the gadabout propensi- 
ties of my countrymen .'' We are a vagabond nation now, 



that 's certain, for better for worse. I am a vagabond ; I 
have been away from home no less than five distinct times 
in the last year. The Queen sets us the example — we are 
moving on from top to bottom. Little dirty Jack, who abides 
in Clement's Inn gateway, and blacks my boots for a penny, 
takes his month's hop-picking every year as a matter of 
course. Why shouldn't he.'' I'm delighted at it. I love 
vagabonds, only I prefer poor to rich ones ; — couriers and 
ladies' maids, imperials and travelling carriages, are an 
abomination unto me — I cannot away with them. But for 
dirty Jack, and every good fellow who, in the words of the 
capital French song, moves about, 

' Comme le limac^on, 
Portant tout son bagage, 
Ses meubles, sa maison,' 

on his own back, why, good luck to them, and many a 
merry road-side adventure, and steaming supper in the 
chimney corners of road-side inns, Swiss chalets, Hottentot 
kraals, or wherever else they like to go. So, having suc- 
ceeded in contradicting myself in my first chapter (which 
gives me great hopes that you will all go on, and think me 
a good fellow notwithstanding my crotchets), I shall here 
shut up for the present, and consider my ways ; having 
resolved to ' sar' it out,' as we say in the Vale. ' holus-bolus ' 
just as it comes, and then you '11 probably get the truth 
out of me. 


'And the King commandeth and forbiddeth, that from henceforth 
neither fairs nor markets be kept in Church-yards, for the honour of the 
Church.' — Statutes : ij Edward I, Stat, ii, cap. vi 

S THAT venerable and learned poet 
(whose voluminous works we all 
think it the correct thing to admire 
and talk about, but don't read often) 
most truly says, ' the child is father 
to the man' ; a fortiori, therefore, 
he must be father to the boy. So, 
as we are going at any rate to see 
Tom Brown through his boyhood, 
supposing we never get any further 
(which, if you show a proper sense 
of the value of this history, there 
is no knowing but what we may), 
let us have a look at the life and 



environments of the child, in the quiet country village to 
which we were introduced in the last chapter. 

Tom, as has been already said, was a robust and comba- 
tive urchin, and at the age of four began to struggle against 
the yoke and authority of his nurse. That functionary was 
a good-hearted, tearful, scatter-brained girl, lately taken by 
Tom's mother, Madam Brown, as she was called, from the 
village school to be trained as nursery-maid. Madam Brown 
was a rare trainer of servants, and spent herself freely in 
the profession ; for profession it was, and gave her more 
trouble by half than many people take to earn a good in- 
come. Her servants were known and sought after for miles 
round. Almost all the girls who attained a certain place in 
the village school were taken by her, one or two at a time, 
as house-maids, laundry-maids, nursery-maids, or kitchen- 
maids, and after a year or two's drilling, were started in 
life amongst the neighbouring families, with good principles 
and wardrobes. One of the results of this system was the 
perpetual despair of Mrs. Brown's cook and own maid, who 
no sooner had a notable girl made to their hands, than 
Missus was sure to find a good place for her and send her 
off, taking in fresh importations from the school. Another 
was, that the house was always full of young girls, with 
clean shining faces ; who broke plates and scorched linen, 
but made an atmosphere of cheerful homely life about the 
place, good for every one who came within its influence. 
Mrs. Brown loved young people, and in fact human creatures 
in general, above plates and linen. They were more like a 
lot of elder children than servants, and felt to her more as 
a mother or aunt than as a mistress. 

Tom's nurse was one who took in her instruction very 


slowly — she seemed to have two left hands and no head ; 
and so Mrs. Brown kept her on longer than usual, that she 
might expend her awkwardness and.forgetfulness upon those 
who would not judge and punish her too strictly for them. 

Charity Lamb was her name. It had been the immemo- 
rial habit of the village to christen children either by Bible 
names, or by those of the cardinal and other virtues ; so 
that one was for ever hearing in the village street, or on 
the green, shrill sounds of ' Prudence ! Prudence ! thee cum' 
out o' the gutter ' ; or, ' Mercy ! drat the girl, what bist 
thee a-doin' wi' little Faith ? ' and there were Ruths, Rachels, 
Keziahs, in every corner. The same with the boys ; they 
were Benjamins, Jacobs, Noahs, Enochs. I suppose the 
custom has come down from Puritan times — there it is, 
at any rate, very strong still in the Vale. 

Well, from early morn till dewy eve, when she had it 
out of him in the cold tub before putting him to bed. 
Charity and Tom were pitted against one another. Physical 
power was as yet on the side of Charity, but she had n't a 
chance with him wherever head-work was wanted. This war 
of independence began every morning before breakfast, when 
Charity escorted her charge to a neighbouring farm-house 
which supplied the Browns, and where, by his mother's 
wish. Master Tom went to drink whey before breakfast. 
Tom had no sort of objection to whey, but he had a de- 
cided liking for curds, which were forbidden as unwhole- 
some, and there was seldom a morning that he did not 
manage to secure a handful of hard curds, in defiance of 
Charity and of the farmer's wife. The latter good soul was 
a gaunt angular woman, who, with an old black bonnet on 
the top of her head, the strings dangling about her shoulders, 



and her gown tucked through her pocket-holes, went clatter- 
ing about the dairy, cheese-room, and yard, in high pattens. 
Charity was some sort of niece of the old lady's, and was 
consequently free of the farm-house and garden, into which 
she could not resist going for the purposes of gossip and 
flirtation with the heir-apparent, who was a dawdling fellow, 
never out at work as he ought to have been. The moment 
Charity had found her cousin, or any other occupation, Tom 
would slip away ; and in a minute shrill cries would be 
heard from the dairy, ' Charity, Charity, thee lazy huzzy, 
where bist ? ' and Tom would break cover, hands and mouth 
full of curds, and take refuge on the shaky surface of the 
great muck reservoir in the middle of the yard, disturbing 
the repose of the great pigs. Here he was in safety, as no 
grown person could follow without getting over his knees ; 
and the luckless Charity, while her aunt scolded her from the 
dairy-door for being ' alius hankering about arter our Willum, 
instead of minding Master Tom,' would descend from threats 
to coaxing, to lure Tom out of the muck, which was rising 
over his shoes and would soon tell a tale on his stockings, for 
which she would be sure to catch it from missus's maid. 

Tom had two abettors in the shape of a couple of old 
boys, Noah and Benjamin by name, who defended him from 
Charity, and expended much time upon his education. They 
were both of them retired servants of former generations of 
the Browns. Noah Crooke was a keen dry old man of almost 
ninety, but still able to totter about. He talked to Tom 
quite as if he were one of his own family, and indeed had 
long completely identified the Browns with himself. In some 
remote age he had been the attendant of a Miss Brown, and 
had conveyed her about the country on a pillion. He had 

* [26] 




a little round picture of the identical grey horse, capari- 
soned with the identical pillion, before which he used to 
do a sort of fetish worship, and abuse turnpike-roads and 
carriages. He wore an old full-bottomed wig, the gift of 
some dandy old Brown whom he had valeted in the middle 
of last century, which habiliment Master Tom looked on 
with considerable respect, not to say fear ; and indeed his 
whole feeling towards Noah was strongly tainted with awe ; 
and when the old gentleman was gathered to his fathers, 
Tom's lamentation over him was not unaccompanied by a 
certain joy at having seen the last of the wig : ' Poor old 
Noah, dead and gone,' said he, 'Tom Brown so sorry! 
Put him in the coffin, wig and all.' 

But old Benjy was young Master's real delight and refuge. 
He was a youth by the side of Noah, scarce seventy years 
old. A cheery, humorous, kind-hearted old man, full of 
sixty years of Vale gossip, and of all sorts of helpful ways 
for young and old, but above all for children. It was he 
who bent the first pin, with which Tom extracted his first 
stickleback out of 'Pebbly Brook,' the little stream which 
ran through the village. The first stickleback was a splen- 
did fellow, with fabulous red and blue gills. Tom kept 
him in a small basin till the day of his death, and became 
a fisherman from that day. Within a month from the taking 
of the first stickleback, Benjy had carried off our hero to 
the canal, in defiance of Charity, and between them, after 
a whole afternoon's popjoying, they had caught three or 
four small coarse fish and a perch, averaging perhaps two 
and a half ounces each, which Tom bore home in rapture 
to his mother as a precious gift, and she received like a true 
mother with equal rapture, instructing the cook nevertheless, 





in a private interview, not to prepare the same for the 
Squire's dinner. Charity had appealed against old Benjy 
in the meantime, representing the dangers of the canal 
banks ; but Mrs. Brown, seeing the boy's inaptitude for 
female guidance, had decided in Benjy's favour, and from 
thenceforth the old man was Tom's dry nurse. And as they 
sat by the canal watching their little green and white float, 
Benjy would instruct him in the doings of deceased Browns. 
How his grandfather, in the early days of the great war, 
when there was much distress and crime in the Vale, and 
the magistrates had been threatened by the mob, had ridden 
in with a big stick in his hand, and held the Petty Sessions 
by himself. How his great uncle, the Rector, had encoun- 
tered and laid the last ghost, who had frightened the old 
women, male and female, of the parish out of their senses, 
and who turned out to be the blacksmith's apprentice, dis- 
guised in drink and a white sheet. It was Benjy too who 
saddled Tom's first pony, and instructed him in the mysteries 
of horsemanship, teaching him to throw his weight back and 
keep his hand low ; and who stood chuckling outside the 
door of the girls' school, when Tom rode his little Shetland 
into the cottage and round the table, where the old dame 
and her pupils were seated at their work. 

Benjy himself was come of a family distinguished in the 
Vale for their prowess in all athletic games. Some half- 
dozen of his brothers and kinsmen had gone to the wars, 
of whom only one had survived to come home, with a small 
pension, and three bullets in different parts of his body ; 
he had shared Benjy's cottage till his death, and had left 
him his old dragoon's sword and pistol, which hung over 
the mantel-piece, flanked by a pair of heavy single-sticks 



with which Benjy himself had won renown long ago as 
an old gamester, against the picked men of Wiltshire and 
Somersetshire, in many a good bout at the revels and 
pastimes of the country-side. For he had been a famous 
back-sword man in his young days, and a good wrestler at 
elbow and collar. 

Back-swording and wrestling were the most serious holi- 
day pursuits of the Vale — those by which men attained 
fame — and each village had its champion. I suppose that, 
on the whole, people were less worked then than they are 
now ; at any rate, they seemed to have more time and 
energy for the old pastimes. The great times for back- 
swording came round once a year in each village, at the 
feast. The Vale * veasts ' were not the common statute 
feasts, but much more ancient business. They are literally, 
so far as one can ascertain, feasts of the dedication, i.e., they 
were first established in the churchyard on the day on which 
the village church was opened for public worship, which 
was on the wake Or festival of the patron Saint, and have 
been held on the same day in every year since that time. 

There was no longer any remembrance of why the ' veast ' 
had been instituted, but nevertheless it had a pleasant and 
almost sacred character of its own. For it was then that all 
the children of the village, wherever they were scattered, 
tried to get home for a holiday to visit their fathers and 
mothers and friends, bringing with them their wages or 
some little gift from up the countiy for the old folk. Per- 
haps for a day or two before, but at any rate on * veast day ' 
and the day after, in our village, you might see strapping 
healthy young men and women from all parts of the country 
going round from house to house in their best clothes, and 



finishing up with a call on Madam Brown, whom they would 
consult as to putting out their earnings to the best advan- 
tage, or how best to expend the same for the benefit of the 
old folk. Every household, however poor, managed to raise 
a ' feast-cake ' and bottle of ginger or raisin wine, which 
stood on the cottage table ready for all comers, and not 
unlikely to make them remember feast-time, — for feast- 
cake is very solid, and full of huge raisins. Moreover, 
feast-time was the day of reconciliation for the parish. If 
Job Higgins and Noah Freeman had n't spoken for the 
last six months, their ' old women ' would be sure to get it 
patched up by that day. And though there was a good 
deal of drinking and low vice in the booths of an evening, 
it was pretty well confined to those who would have been 
doing the like * veast or no veast,' and on the whole, the 
effect was humanizing and Christian. In fact, the only 
reason why this is not the case still, is that gentlefolk and 
farmers have taken to other amusements, and have, as 
usual, forgotten the poor. They don't attend the feasts them- 
selves, and call them disreputable, whereupon the steadiest 
of the poor leave them also, and they become what they 
are called. Class amusements, be they for dukes or plough- 
boys, always become nuisances and curses to a country. 
The true charm of cricket and hunting is, that they are 
still more or less sociable and universal ; there 's a place 
for every man who will come and take his part. 

No one in the village enjoyed the approach of * veast 
day ' more than Tom, in the year in which he was taken 
under old Benjy's tutelage. The feast was held in a large 
green field at the lower end of the village. The road to 
Farringdon ran along one side of it, and the brook by the 



side of the road ; and above the brook was another large 
gentle sloping pasture-land, with a footpath running down 
it from the churchyard ; and the old church, the originator 
of all the mirth, towered up with its grey walls and lancet 
windows, overlooking and sanctioning the whole, though its 
own share therein had been forgotten. At the point where 
the footpath crossed the brook and road, and entered on 
the field where the feast was held, was a long low roadside 
inn, and on the opposite side of the field was a large white 
thatched farm-house, where dwelt an old sporting farmer, 
a great promoter of the revels. 

Past the old church, and down the footpath, pottered the 
old man and the child hand in hand early on the afternoon 
of the day before the feast, and wandered all round the 
ground, which was already being occupied by the ' cheap 
Jacks,' with their green-covered carts and marvellous assort- 
ment of wares, and the booths of more legitimate small 
traders with their tempting arrays of fairings and eatables ! 
and penny peep-shows and other shows, containing pink- 
eyed ladies, and * dwarfs, and boa-constrictors, and wild 
Indians. But the object of most interest to Benjy, and of 
course to his pupil also, was the stage of rough planks 
some four feet high, which was being put up by the village 
carpenter for the back-swording and wrestling ; and after 
surveying the whole tenderly, old Benjy led his charge 
away to the roadside inn, where he ordered a glass of ale 
and a long pipe for himself, and discussed these unwonted 
luxuries on the bench outside in the soft autumn evening 
with mine host, another old servant of the Browns, and 
speculated with him on the likelihood of a good show of 
old gamesters to contend for the morrow's prizes, and told 



tales of the gallant bouts of forty years back, to which Tom 
listened with all his ears and eyes. 

But who shall tell the joy of the next morning, when the 
church bells were ringing a merry peal, and old Benjy ap- 
peared in the servants' hall, resplendent in a long blue coat 
and brass buttons, and a pair of old yellow buckskins and 
top-boots, which he had cleaned for and inherited from 
Tom's grandfather ; a stout thorn-stick in his hand, and a 
nosegay of pinks and lavender in his button-hole, and led 
away Tom in his best clothes, and two new shillings in his 
breeches-pockets ? Those two, at any rate, look like enjoy- 
ing the day's revel. 

They quicken their pace when they get into the church- 
yard, for already they see the field thronged with country 
folk, the men in clean white smocks or velveteen or fustian 
coats, with rough plush waistcoats of many colours, and the 
women in the beautiful long scarlet cloak, the usual outdoor 
dress of West-country women in those days, and which 
often descended in families from mother to daughter, or in 
new-fashioned stuff shawls, which, if they would but believe 
it, don't become them half so well. The air resounds with 
the pipe and tabor, and the drums and trumpets of the 
showmen shouting at the doors of their caravans, over which 
tremendous pictures of the wonders to be seen within hang 
temptingly ; while through all rises the shrill ' root-too-too- 
too ' of Mr. Punch, and the unceasing pan-pipe of his satellite. 

• Lawk a' massey, Mr. Benjamin,' cries a stout motherly 
woman in a red cloak, as they enter the field, ' be that you ? 
Well I never ! you do look purely. And how 's the Squire, 
and Madam, and the family ? ' 

Benjy graciously shakes hands with the speaker, who has 



left our village for some years, but has come over for 
Veast Day on a visit to an old gossip — and gently indicates 
the heir-apparent of the Browns. 

' Bless his little heart ! I must gi' un a kiss. Here, Susan- 
nah, Susannah ! ' cries she, raising herself from the embrace, 
' come and see Mr. Benjamin and young Master Tom. 
You minds our Sukey, Mr. Benjamin, she be growed a rare 
slip of a wench since you seen her, tho' her '11 be sixteen 
come Martinmas. I do aim to take her to see Madam to 
get her a place.' 

And Sukey comes bouncing a^ /ay from a knot of old 
schoolfellows, and drops a curtsey to Mr. Benjamin. And 
elders come up from all parts to salute Benjy, and girls 
who have been Madam's pupils to kiss Master Tom. And 
they carry him off to load him with fairings ; and he returns 
to Benjy, his hat and coat covered with ribbons, and his 
pockets crammed with wonderful boxes which open upon 
ever new boxes and boxes, and popguns, and trumpets, and 
apples, and gilt gingerbread from the stall of Angel Heavens, 
sole vendor thereof, whose booth groans with kings and 
queens, and elephants, and prancing steeds, all gleaming 
with gold. There was more gold on Angel's cakes than 
there is ginger in those of this degenerate age. Skilled 
diggers might yet make a fortune in the churchyards of the 
Vale, by carefully washing the dust of the consumers of 
Angel's gingerbread. Alas ! he is with his namesakes, and 
his receipts have, I fear, died with him. 

And then they inspect the penny peep-show, at least Tom 
does, while old Benjy stands outside and gossips, and walks 
up the steps, and enters the mysterious doors of the pink- 
eyed lady, and the Irish Giant, who do not by any means 



come up to their pictures ; and the boa will not swallow his 
rabbit, but there the rabbit is waiting to be swallowed — 
and what can you expect for tuppence ? We are easily 
pleased in the Vale. Now there is a rush of the crowd, 
and a tinkling bell is heard, and shouts of laughter ; and 
Master Tom mounts on Benjy's shoulders and beholds a 
jingling match in all its glory. The games are begun, and 
this is the opening of them. It is a quaint game, immensely 
amusing to look at, and as I don't know whether it is used 
in your counties, I had better describe it. A large roped 
ring is made, into which are introduced a dozen or so of 
big boys and young men who mean to play ; these are 
carefully blinded and turned loose into the ring, and then 
a man is introduced not blindfolded, with a bell hung round 
his neck, and his two hands tied behind him. Of course 
every time he moves, the bell must ring, as he has no hand 
to hold it, and so the dozen blindfolded men have to catch 
him. This they cannot always manage if he is a lively 
fellow, but half of them always rush into the arms of the 
other half, or drive their heads together, or tumble over ; and 
then the crowd laughs vehemently, and invents nicknames 
for them on the spur of the moment, and they, if they be 
choleric, tear off the handkerchiefs which blind them, and 
not unfrequently pitch into one another, each thinking that 
the other must have run against him on purpose. It is great 
fun to look at a jingling match certainly, and Tom shouts 
and jumps on old Benjy's shoulders at the sight, until the 
old man feels weary, and shifts him to the strong young 
shoulders of the groom, who has just got down to the fun. 
And now, while they are climbing the pole in another 
part of the field, and muzzling in a flour-tub in another, 


■I: / '- ' 




the old farmer whose house, as has been said, overlooks 
the field, and who is master of the revels, gets up the steps 
on to the stage, and announces to all whom it may concern 
that a half-sovereign in money will be forthcoming for the 
old gamester who breaks most heads ; to which the Squire 
and he have added a new hat. 

The amount of the prize is sufficient to stimulate the men 
of the immediate neighbourhood, but not enough to bring 
any very high talent from a distance ; so, after a glance or 
two round, a tall fellow, who is a down shepherd, chucks 
his hat on to the stage and climbs up the steps, looking 
rather sheepish. The crowd of course first cheer, and then 
chaff as usual, as he picks up his hat and begins handling 
the sticks to see which will suit him. 

' Wooy, Willum Smith, thee canst plaay wi' he arra daay,' 
says his companion to the blacksmith's apprentice, a stout 
young fellow of nineteen or twenty. Willum's sweetheart 
is in the ' veast ' somewhere, and has strictly enjoined him 
not to get his head broke at back-swording, on pain of her 
highest displeasure ; but as she is not to be seen (the women 
pretend not to like to see the back-sword play, and keep 
away from the stage), and as his hat is decidedly getting 
old, he chucks it on to the stage, and follows himself, 
hoping that he will only have to break other people's 
heads, or that after all Rachel won't really mind. 

Then follows the greasy cap lined with fur of a half- 
gipsy, poaching, loafing fellow, who travels the Vale not 
for much good, I fancy : 

' Full twenty times was Peter feared 
For once that Peter was respected,' 



in fact. And then three or four other hats, including the 
glossy castor of Joe Willis, the self-elected and would-be 
champion of the neighbourhood, a well-to-do young butcher 
of twenty-eight or thereabouts, and a great strapping fellow, 
with his full allowance of bluster. This is a capital show 
of gamesters, considering the amount of the prize ; so 
while they are picking their sticks and drawing their lots, 
I think I must tell you, as shortly as I can, how the noble 
old game of back-sword is played ; for it is sadly gone 
out of late, even in the Vale, and maybe you have never 
seen it. 

The weapon is a good stout ash-stick with a large 
basket handle, heavier and somewhat shorter than a com- 
mon single-stick. The players are called 'old gamesters,' — 
why, I can't tell you, — and their object is simply to break 
one another's heads : for the moment that blood runs an 
inch anywhere above the eyebrow, the old gamester to 
whom it belongs is beaten, and has to stop. A very slight 
blow with the sticks will fetch blood, so that it is by no 
means a punishing pastime, if the men don't play on 
purpose, and savagely, at the body and arms of their 
adversaries. The old gamester going into action only takes 
off his hat and coat, and arms himself with a stick : he 
then loops the fingers of his left hand in a handkerchief 
or strap which he fastens round his left leg, measuring 
the length, so that when he draws it tight with his left 
elbow in the air, that elbov/ shall just reach as high as his 
crown. Thus you see, so long as he chooses to keep his 
left elbow up, regardless of cuts, he has a perfect guard 
for the left side of his head. Then he advances his right 
hand above and in front of his head, holding his stick 



across so that its point projects an inch or two over his 
left elbow, and thus his whole head is completely guarded, 
and he faces his man armed in like manner, and they 
stand some three feet apart, often nearer, and feint, and 
strike, and return at one another's heads, until one cries 
'Hold,' or blood flows; in the first case they are allowed 
a minute's time, and go on again ; in the latter, another 
pair of gamesters are called on. If good men are playing, 
the quickness of the returns is marvellous ; you hear the 
rattle like that a boy makes drawing his stick along 
palings, only heavier, and the closeness of the men in 
action to one another gives it a strange interest, and 
makes a spell at back-swording a very noble sight. 

They are all suited now with sticks, and Joe Willis and 
the gipsy man have drawn the first lot. So the rest lean 
against the rails of the stage, and Joe and the dark man 
meet in the middle, the boards having been strewed with 
sawdust ; Joe's white shirt and spotless drab breeches and 
boots contrasting with the gipsy's coarse blue shirt and 
dirty green velveteen breeches and leather gaiters. Joe is 
evidently turning up his nose at the other, and half 
insulted at having to break his head. 

The gipsy is a tough, active fellow, but not very skilful 
with his weapon, so that Joe's weight and strength tell 
in a minute ; he is too heavy metal for him : whack, whack, 
whack, come his blows, breaking down the gipsy's guard, 
and threatening to reach his head every moment. There 
it is at last — ' Blood, blood ! ' shout the spectators, as a 
thin stream oozes out slowly from the roots of his hair, 
and the umpire calls to them to stop. The gipsy scowls 
at Joe under his brows in no pleasant manner, while 



Master Joe swaggers about, and makes attitudes, and 
thinks himself, and shows that he thinks himself, the 
greatest man in the field. 

Then follow several stout sets-to between the other 
candidates for the new hat, and at last come the shepherd 
and Willum Smith. This is the crack set-to of the day. 
They are both in famous wind, and there is no crying 
' Hold ' ; the shepherd is an old hand and up to all the 
dodges ; he tries them one after another, and very nearly 
gets at Willum 's head by coming in near, and playing 
over his guard at the half-stick, but somehow Willum 
blunders through, catching the stick on his shoulders, 
neck, sides, every now and then, anywhere but on his 
head, and his returns are heavy and straight, and he is 
the youngest gamester and a favourite in the parish, and 
his gallant stand brings down shouts and cheers, and the 
knowing ones think he '11 win if he keeps steady, and Tom 
on the groom's shoulder holds his hands together, and 
can hardly breathe for excitement. 

Alas for Willum ! his sweetheart getting tired of female 
companionship has been hunting the booths to see where 
he can have got to, and now catches sight of him on the 
stage in full combat. She flushes and turns pale ; her old 
aunt catches hold of her, saying, ' Bless 'ee, child, doan't 
'ee go a'nighst it ' ; but she breaks away and runs towards 
the stage calling his name. Willum keeps up his guard 
stoutly, but glances for a moment towards the voice. No 
guard will do it, Willum, without the eye. The shepherd 
steps round and strikes, and the point of his stick just 
grazes Willum's forehead, fetching off the skin, and the 
blood flows, and the umpire cries ' Hold,' and poor 



Willum's chance is up for the day. But he takes it very 
well, and puts on his old hat and coat, and goes down to 
be scolded by his sweetheart, and led away out of mischief. 
Tom hears him say coaxingly as he walks off — 

' Now, doan't 'ec, Rachel ! I would n't ha' done it, only 
I wanted summut to buy 'ee a fairing wi', and I be as 
vlush o' money as a twod o' veathers.' 

'Thee mind what I tells 'ee,' rejoins Rachel saucily, 
'and doan't 'ee kep blethering about fairings,' Tom 
resolves in his heart to give Willum the remainder of 
his two shillings after the back-swording. 

Joe Willis has all the luck to-day. His next bout ends 
in an easy victory, while the shepherd has a tough job to 
break his second head ; and when Joe and the shepherd 
meet, and the whole circle expect and hope to see him 
get a broken crown, the shepherd slips in the first round 
and falls against the rails, hurting himself so that the old 
farmer will not let him go on, much as he wishes to try ; 
and that impostor Joe (for he is certainly not the best man) 
struts and swaggers about the stage the conquering game- 
ster, though he has n't had five minutes' really trying play. 

Joe takes the new hat in his hand, and puts the money 
into it, and then as if a thought strikes him, and he 
doesn't think his victor)' quite acknowledged down below, 
walks to each face of the stage, and looks down, shaking 
the money, and chaffing, as how he '11 stake hat and money 
and another half-sovereign 'agin any gamester as hasn't 
played already.' Cunning Joe ! he thus gets rid of Willum 
and the shepherd, who is quite fresh again. 

No one seems to like the offer, and the umpire is just 
coming down, when a queer old hat, something like a 



Doctor of Divinity's shovel, is chucked on to the stage, 
and an elderly quiet man steps out, who has been watching 
the play, saying he should like to cross a stick wi' the 
prodigalish young chap. 

The crowd cheer and begin to chaff Joe, who turns up 
his nose and swaggers across to the sticks. ' Imp'dent 
old wosbird ! ' says he, ' I '11 break the bald head on un 
to the truth.' 

The old boy is very bald certainly, and the blood will 
show fast enough if you can touch him, Joe. 

He takes off his long-flapped coat, and stands up in a 
long-flapped waistcoat, which Sir Roger de Coverley might 
have worn when it was new, picks out a stick, and is 
ready for Master Joe, who loses no time, but begins his 
old game, whack, whack, whack, trying to break down the 
old man's guard by sheer strength. But it won't do, — he 
catches every blow close by the basket, and though he is 
rather stiff in his returns, after a minute walks Joe about 
the stage, and is clearly a staunch old gamester. Joe now 
comes in, and making the most of his height, tries to get 
over the old man's guard at half-stick, by which he takes 
a smart blow in the ribs and another on the elbow and 
nothing more. And now he loses wind and begins to puff, 
and the crowd laugh : ' Cry " Hold," Joe — thee 'st met thy 
match ! ' Instead of taking good advice and getting his wind, 
Joe loses his temper, and strikes at the old man's body. 

' Blood, blood ! ' shout the crowd, * Joe's head 's broke ! ' 

Who 'd have thought it .? How did it come ? That body- 
blow left Joe's head unguarded for a moment, and with 
one turn of the wrist the old gentleman has picked a neat 
little bit of skin off the middle of his forehead, and though 



he won't believe it, and hammers on for three more blows 
despite of the shouts, is then convinced by the blood 
trickling into his eye. Poor Joe is sadly crestfallen, and 
fumbles in his pocket for the other half-sovereign, but the 
old gamester won't have it. ' Keep thy money, man, and 
gi 's thy hand,' says he, and they shake hands; but the old 
gamester gives the new hat to the shepherd, and, soon 
after, the half-sovereign to Willum, who thereout decorates 
his sweetheart with ribbons to his heart's content. 

' Who can a be .'' ' ' Wur do a cum from ? ' ask the crowd. 
And it soon flies about that the old West-country champion, 
who played a tie with Shaw the Life-guardsman at ' Vizes ' 
twenty years before, has broken Joe Willis's crown for him. 

How my country fair is spinning out ! I see I must 
skip the wrestling, and the boys jumping in sacks, and 
rolling wheelbarrows blindfolded ; and the donkey-race, and 
the fight which arose thereout, marring the otherwise 
peaceful ' veast ' ; and the frightened scurrying away of 
the female feast-goers, and descent of Squire Brown, sum- 
moned by the wife of one of the combatants to stop it ; 
which he would n't start to do till he had got on his top- 
boots. Tom is carried away by old Benjy, dog-tired and 
surfeited with pleasure, as the evening comes on and the 
dancing begins in the booths ; and though Willum and 
Rachel in her new ribbons and many another good lad and 
lass don't come away just yet, but have a good step out, 
and enjoy it, and get no harm thereby, yet we, being sober 
folk, will just stroll away up through the churchyard, and 
by the old yew-tree ; and get a quiet dish of tea and a 
parle wath our gossips, as the steady ones of our village do, 
and so to bed. 



That 's the fair true sketch, as far as it goes, of one of 
the larger village feasts in the Vale of Berks, when I was 
a little boy. They are much altered for the worse, I am 
told. I have n't been at one these twenty years, but I have 
been at the statute fairs in some West-country towns, 
where servants are hired, and greater abominations cannot 
be found. What village feasts have come to, I fear, in 
many cases, may be read in the pages of Yeast (though I 
never saw one so bad — thank God!). 

Do you want to know why } It is because, as I said be- 
fore, gentlefolk and farmers have left off joining or taking 
an interest in them. They don't either subscribe to the 
prizes, or go down and enjoy the fun. 

Is this a good or a bad sign } I hardly know. Bad, 
sure enough, if it only arises from the further separation 
of classes consequent on twenty years of buying cheap and 
selling dear, and its accompanying over-work ; or because 
our sons and daughters have their hearts in London Club- 
life, or so-called Society, instead of in the old English home 
duties ; because farmers' sons are apeing fine gentlemen, 
and farmers' daughters caring more to make bad foreign 
music than good English cheeses. Good, perhaps, if it be 
that the time for the old ' veast ' has gone by, that it is 
no longer the healthy sound expression of English country 
holiday-making ; that, in fact, we as a nation have got be- 
yond it, and are in a transition state, feeling for and soon 
likely to find some better substitute. 

Only I have just got this to say before I quit the text. 
Don't let reformers of any sort think that they are going 
really to lay hold of the working boys and young men of 
England by any educational grapnel whatever, which has n't 



some bona fide equivalent for the games of the old country 
' veast ' in it ; something to put in the place of the back- 
swording and wrestling and racing ; something to try the 
muscles of men's bodies, and the endurance of their hearts, 
and to make them rejoice in their strength. In all the 
new-fangled comprehensive plans which I see, this is all 
left out : and the consequence is, that your great Mechanics' 
Institutes end in intellectual priggism, and your Christian 
Young Men's Societies in religious Pharisaism. 

Well, well, we must bide our time. Life is n't all beer 
and skittles, — but beer and skittles, or something better of 
che same sort, must form a good part of every Englishman's 
education. If I could only drive this into the heads of you 
rising Parliamentary Lords, and young swells who ' have 
your ways made for you,' as the saying is, — you, who fre- 
quent palaver houses and West-End clubs, waiting always 
ready to strap yourselves on to the back of poor dear 
old John, as soon as the present used-up lot (your fathers 
and uncles), who sit there on the great Parliamentary- 
majorities' pack-saddle, and make believe they 're guiding 
him with their red-tape bridle, tumble, or have to be 
lifted oft ! 

I don't think much of you yet — I wish I could ; though 
you do go talking and lecturing up and down the country 
to crowded audiences, and are busy with all sorts of philan- 
thropic intellectualism, and circulating libraries and museums, 
and Heaven only knows what besides ; and try to make us 
think, through newspaper reports, that you are, even as we, 
of the working classes. But, bless your hearts, we ' ain't so 
green,' though lots of us of all sorts toady you enough 
certainly, and try to make you think so. 



I '11 tell you what to do now : instead of all this trumpet- 
ing and fuss, which is only the old Parliamentary-majority 
dodge over again — just you go each of you (you 've plenty 
of time for it, if you '11 only give up t' other line), and 
quietly make three or four friends, real friends, among us. 
You '11 find a little trouble in getting at the right sort, 
because such birds don't come lightly to your lure — but 
found they may be. Take, say, two out of the professions, 
lawyer, parson, doctor — which you will ; one out of trade, 
and three or four out of the working classes, tailors, en- 
gineers, carpenters, engravers, — there 's plenty of choice. 
Let them be men of your own ages, mind, and ask them 
to your homes ; introduce them to your wives, and sisters, 
and get introduced to theirs : give them good dinners, and 
talk to them about what is really at the bottom of your 
hearts, and box, and run, and row with them, when you have 
a chance. Do all this honestly as man to man, and by the 
time you come to ride old John, you '11 be able to do some- 
thing more than sit on his back, and may feel his mouth 
with some stronger bridle than a red-tape one. 

Ah, if you only would ! But you have got too far out 
of the right rut, I fear. Too much over-civilization and 
the deceitfulness of riches. It is easier for a camel to go 
through the eye of a needle. More 's the pity, I never 
came across but two of you who could value a man wholly 
and solely for what was in him ; who thought themselves 
verily and indeed of the same flesh and blood as John Jones 
the attorney's clerk, and Bill Smith the costermonger, and 
could act as if they thought so. 


SundrjWars and Ail'mme^ 

^jOOR old Benjy ! the ' rheumatiz ' has much 
to answer for all through English countr}- 
sides, but it never played a scurvier trick 
than in laying thee by the heels, when 
thou wast yet in a green old age. The 
enemy, which had long been carr)-ing on 
a sort of border warfare, and trying his strength against 
Benjy 's on the battlefield of his hands and legs, now, mus- 
tering all his forces, began laying siege to the citadel, and 
over-running the whole countr}-. Benjy was seized in the 
back and loins ; and though he made strong and brave fight, 
it was soon clear enough that all which could be beaten of 
poor old Benjy would have to give in before long, 



It was as much as he could do now, with the help of his 
big stick and frequent stops, to hobble down to the canal 
with Master Tom, and bait his hook for him, and sit and 
watch his angling, telling him quaint old country stories ; 
and when Tom had no sport, and detecting a rat some 
hundred yards or so off along the bank, would rush off 
with Toby the turnspit terrier, his other faithful companion, 
in bootless pursuit, he might have tumbled in and been 
drowned twenty times over before Benjy could have got 
near him. 

Cheery and unmindful of himself as Benjy was, this 
loss of locomotive power bothered him greatly. He had 
got a new object in his old age, and was just beginning to 
think himself useful again in the world. He feared much, 
too, lest Master Tom should fall back again into the hands 
of Charity and the women. So he tried everything he 
could think of to get set up. He even went an expedition 
to the dwelling of one of those queer mortals, who — say 
what we will, and. reason how we will — do cure simple 
people of diseases of one kind or another without the aid 
of physic ; and so get to themselves the reputation of using 
charms, and inspire for themselves and their dwellings great 
respect, not to say fear, amongst a simple folk such as the 
dwellers in the Vale of White Horse. Where this power, 
or whatever else it may be, descends upon the shoulders of 
a man whose ways are not straight, he becomes a nuisance 
to the neighbourhood ; a receiver of stolen goods, giver 
of love-potions, and deceiver of silly women ; the avowed 
enemy of law and order, of justices of the peace, head- 
boroughs, and gamekeepers. . . . Sometimes, however, they 
are of quite a different stamp, men who pretend to nothing, 



and are with difficulty persuaded to exercise their occult 
arts in the simplest cases. 

Of this latter sort was old Farmer Ives, as he was called, 
the ' wise man ' to whom Benjy resorted (taking Tom with 
him as usual), in the early spring of the year next after the 
feast described in the last chapter. Why he was called 
' farmer ' I cannot say, unless it be that he was the owner 
of a cow, a pig or two, and some poultry, which he main- 
tained on about an acre of land enclosed from the middle 
of a wild common, on which probably his father had squatted 
before lords of manors looked as keenly after their rights 
as they do now. Here he had lived no one knew how long, 
a solitary man. It was often rumoured that he was to be 
turned out and his cottage pulled down, but somehow it 
never came to pass ; and his pigs and cow went grazing on 
the common, and his geese hissed at the passing children 
and at the heels of the horse of my lord's steward, who 
often rode by with a covetous eye on the enclosure, still 
unmolested. His dwelling was some miles from our village ; 
so Benjy, who was half ashamed of his errand, and wholly 
unable to walk there, had to exercise much ingenuity to get 
the means of transporting himself and Tom thither without 
exciting suspicion. However, one fine May morning he 
managed to borrow the old blind pony of our friend the 
publican, and Tom persuaded Madam Brown to give him 
a holiday to spend with old Benjy, and to lend them the 
Squire's light cart, stored with bread and cold meat and a 
bottle of ale. And so the two in high glee started behind 
old Dobbin, and jogged along the deep-rutted plashy roads, 
which had not been mended after their winter's wear, towards 
the dwelling of the wizard. About noon they passed the 



gate which opened on to the large common, and old Dobbin 
toiled slowly up the hill, while Benjy pointed out a little deep 

1 1//'-.. 


*Jimcs. -n^,,,,,^ 


dingle on the left, out of which welled a tiny stream. As 
they crept up the hill the tops of a few birch-trees came in 
sight and blue smoke curling up through their delicate light 



boughs ; and then the Httle white thatched home and patch 
of enclosed ground of Farmer Ives, lying cradled in the 
dingle, with the gay gorse common rising behind and on 
both sides ; while in front, after traversing a gentle slope, 
the eye might travel for miles and miles over the rich vale. 
They now left the main road and struck into a green track 
over the common marked lightly with wheel and horse-shoe, 
which led down into the dingle and stopped at the rough 
gate of Farmer Ives. Here they found the farmer, an iron- 
grey old man, with a bushy eyebrow and strong aquiline 
nose, busied in one of his vocations. He was a horse and 
cow doctor, and was tending a sick beast which had been 
sent up to be cured. Benjy hailed him as an old friend, 
and he returned the greeting cordially enough, looking, 
however, hard for a moment both at Benjy and Tom, to see 
whether there was more in their visit than appeared at first 
sight. It was a work of some difficulty and danger for 
Benjy to reach the ground, which, however, he managed 
to do without mishap ; and then he devoted himself to un- 
harnessing Dobbin, and turning him out for a graze (' a run ' 
one could not say of that virtuous steed) on the common. 
This done, he extricated the cold provisions from the cart, 
and they entered the farmer's wicket ; and he, shutting up 
the knife with which he was taking maggots out of the 
cow's back and sides, accompanied them towards the cottage. 
A big old lurcher got up slowly from the door-stone, stretch- 
ing first one hind leg and then the other, and taking Tom's 
caresses and the presence of Toby, who kept, however, at 
a respectful distance, with equal indifference, 

' Us be cum to pay 'ee a visit. I 've a been long minded 
to do 't for old sake's sake, only I vinds I dwon't get about 



now as I'd used to 't, I be so plaguy bad wi' th' rumatiz 
in my back,' Benjy paused in hopes of drawing the farmer 
at once on the subject of his ailments without further direct 

'Ah, I see as you bean't quite so lissom as you was,' 
replied the farmer with a grim smile, as he lifted the latch 
of his door; 'we bean't so young as we was, nother on us, 
wuss luck.' 

The farmer's cottage was very like those of the better 
class of peasantry in general, A snug chimney corner with 
two seats, and a small carpet on the hearth, an old flint gun 
and a pair of spurs over the fireplace, a dresser with shelves 
on which some bright pewter plates and crockeryware were 
arranged, an old walnut table, a few chairs and settles, some 
framed samplers, and an old print or two, and a bookcase 
with some dozen volumes on the walls, a rack with flitches 
of bacon, and other stores fastened to the ceiling, and you 
have the best part of the furniture. No sign of occult art 
is to be seen unless the bundles of dried herbs hanging to 
the rack and in the ingle, and the row of labelled phials on 
one of the shelves, betoken it. 

Tom played about with some kittens who occupied the 
hearth, and with a goat who walked demurely in at the 
open door, while their host and Benjy spread the table for 
dinner — and was soon engaged in conflict with the cold 
meat, to Avhich he did much honour. The two old men's 
talk was of old comrades and their deeds, mute inglorious 
Miltons of the Vale, and of the doings thirty years back — 
which didn't interest him much^ except when they spoke 
of the making of the canal, and then, indeed, he began to 
listen with all his ears ; and learned to his no small wonder 



that his dear and wonderful canal had not been there always 
— was not, in fact, so old as Benjy or Farmer Ives, which 
caused a strange commotion in his small brain. 

After dinner Benjy called attention to a wart which Tom 
had on the knuckles of his hand, and which the family doc- 
tor had been trying his skill on without success, and begged 
the farmer to charm it away. Farmer Ives looked at it, 
muttered something or another over it, and cut some notches 
in a short stick, which he handed to Benjy, giving him 
instructions for cutting it down on certain days, and cau- 
tioning Tom not to meddle with the wart for a fortnight. 
And then they strolled out and sat on a bench in the sun 
with their pipes, and the pigs came up and grunted socia- 
bly and let Tom scratch them ; and the farmer, seeing how 
he liked animals, stood up and held his arms in the air 
and gave a call, which brought a flock of pigeons wheeling 
and dashing through the birch-trees. They settled down in 
clusters on the farmer's arms and shoulders, making love 
to him and scrambling over one another's backs to get to 
his face ; and then he threw them all off, and they fluttered 
about close by, and lighted on him again and again when 
he held up his arms. All the creatures about the place 
were clean and fearless, quite unlike their relations else- 
where ; and Tom begged to be taught how to make all the 
pigs and cows and poultry in our village tame, at which 
the farmer only gave one of his grim chuckles. 

It wasn't till they were just ready to go, and old Dobbin 
was harnessed, that Benjy broached the subject of his rheu- 
matism again, detailing his symptoms one by one. Poor old 
boy ! He hoped the farmer could charm it away as easily 
as he could Tom's wart, and was ready with equal faith to 



put another notched stick into his other pocket, for the 
cure of his own ailments. The physician shook his head, 
but nevertheless produced a bottle and handed it to Benjy 
with instructions for use, ' Not as 't '11 do 'ee much good 
— leastways, I be af eared not,' shading his eyes with his 
hand and looking up at them in the cart ; ' there 's only one 
thing as I knows on, as '11 cure old folks like you and I 
o' th' rhumatis.' 

' Wot be that then, farmer ? ' inquired Benjy. 

* Churchyard mould, ' said the old iron-grey man with 
another chuckle. And so they said their good-byes and 
went their ways home. Tom's wart was gone in a fortnight, 
but not so Benjy's rheumatism, which laid him by the heels 
more and more. And though Tom still spent many an 
hour with him, as he sat on a bench in the sunshine, or by 
the chimney corner when it was cold, he soon had to seek 
elsewhere for his regular companions. 

Tom had been accustomed often to accompany his mother 
in her visits to the cottages, and had thereby made acquaint- 
ance with many of the village boys of his own age. There 
was Job Rudkin, son of widow Rudkin, the most bustling 
woman in the parish. How she could ever have had such 
a stolid boy as Job for a child must always remain a mystery. 
The first time Tom went to their cottage with his mother. 
Job was not indoors, but he entered soon after, and stood 
with both hands in his pockets staring at Tom. Widow 
Rudkin, who would have had to cross Madam to get at 
young Hopeful — a breach of good manners of which she 
was wholly incapable — began a series of pantomime signs, 
which only puzzled him, and at last, unable to contain her- 
self longer, burst out with, 'Job! Job! where 's thy cap?' 



* What ! beant 'ee on ma' head, mother ? ' rephed Job, 
slowly extricating one hand from a pocket and feeling for 
the article in question ; which he found on his head sure 
enough, and left there, to his mother's horror and Tom's 
great delight. 

Then there was poor Jacob Dodson, the half-witted boy, 
who ambled abput cheerfully, undertaking messages and 
little helpful odds and ends for every one, which, however, 
poor Jacob managed always hopelessly to embrangle. Every- 
thing came to pieces in his hands, and nothing would stop 
in his head. They nicknamed him Jacob Doodle-calf. 

But above all there was Harry Winburn, the quickest 
and best boy in the parish. He might be a year older than 
Tom, but was very little bigger, and he was the Crichton 
of our village boys. He could wrestle and climb and run 
better than all the rest, and learned all that the school- 
master could teach him faster than that worthy at all liked. 
He was a boy to be proud of, with his curly brown hair, 
keen grey eye, straight active figure, and little ears and 
hands and feet, 'as fine as a lord's,' as Charity remarked 
to Tom one day, talking as usual great nonsense. Lords' 
hands and ears and feet are just as ugly as other folks' 
when they are children, as any one may convince himself 
if he likes to look. Tight boots and gloves, and doing 
nothing with them, I allow, make a difference by the time 
they are twenty. 

Now that Benjy was laid on the shelf, and his young 
brothers were still under petticoat government, Tom, in 
search of companions, began to cultivate the village boys 
generally more and more. Squire Brown, be it said, was a 
true blue Tory to the backbone, and believed honestly that 



the powers which be were ordained of God, and that loyalty 
and steadfast obedience were men's first duties. Whether 
it were in consequence or in spite of his political creed, I 
do not mean to give an opinion, though I have one ; but 
certain it is, that he held therewith divers social principles 
not generally supposed to be true blue in colour. Foremost 
of these, and the one which the Squire loved to propound 
above all others, was the belief that a man is to be valued 
wholly and solely for that which he is in himself, for that 
which stands up in the four fleshly walls of him, apart from 
clothes, rank, fortune, and all externals whatsoever. Which 
belief I take to be a wholesome corrective of all political 
opinions, and, if held sincerely, to make all opinions equally 
harmless, whether they be blue, red, or green. As a neces- 
sary corollary to this belief. Squire Brown held further that 
it did n't matter a straw whether his son associated with 
lords' sons or ploughmen's sons, provided they were brave 
and honest. He himself had played football and gone birds'- 
nesting with the farmers whom he met at vestry and the 
labourers who tilled 'their fields, and so had his father and 
grandfather with their progenitors. So he encouraged Tom 
in his intimacy with the boys of the village, and for^varded 
it by all means in his power, and gave them the run of a 
close for a playground, and provided bats and balls and 
a football for their sports. 

Our village was blessed amongst other things with a 
well-endowed school. The building stood by itself, apart 
from the master's house, on an angle of ground where 
three roads met ; an old grey stone building with a steep 
roof and mullioned windows. On one of the opposite angles 
stood Squire Brown's stables and kennel, with their backs 



to the road, over which towered a great elm-tree ; on the 
third stood the village carpenter and wheelwright's large 
open shop, and his house and the schoolmaster's, with long 
low eaves under which the swallows built by scores. 

The moment Tom's lessons were over, he would now 
get him down to this corner by the stables, and watch till 
the boys came out of school. He prevailed on the groom 
to cut notches for him in the bark of the elm, so that he 
could climb into the lower branches, and there he would 
sit watching the school door, and speculating on the possi- 
bility of turning the elm into a dwelling-place for himself 
and friends after the manner of the Swiss Family Robinson. 
But the school hours were long and Tom's patience short, 
so that soon he began to descend into the street, and go 
and peep in at the school door and the wheelwright's shop, 
and look out for something to while away the time. Now 
the wheelwright was a choleric man, and, one fine after- 
noon, returning from a short absence, found Tom occupied 
with one of his pet adzes, the edge of which was fast van- 
ishing under our hero's care. A speedy flight saved Tom 
from all but one sound cuff on the ears, but he resented 
this unjustifiable interruption of his first essays at carpen- 
tering, and still more the further proceedings of the wheel- 
wright, who cut a switch and hung it over the door of his 
workshop, threatening to use it upon Tom if he came 
within twenty yards of his gate. So Tom, to retaliate, 
commenced a war upon the swallows who dwelt under the 
wheelwright's eaves, whom he harassed with sticks and 
stones, and being fleeter of foot than his enemy, escaped 
all punishment, and kept him in perpetual anger. More- 
over, his presence about the school door began to incense 



the master, as the boys in that neighbourhood neglected 
their lessons in consequence : and more than once he issued 
into the porch, rod in hand, just as Tom beat a hasty retreat. 
And he and the wheelwright, laying their heads together, 
resolved to acquaint the Squire with Tom's afternoon occu- 
pations ; but in order to do it with effect, determined to 
take him captive and lead him away to judgement fresh 
from his evil doings. This they would have found some 
difficulty in doing, had Tom continued the war single- 
handed, or rather single-footed, for he would have taken 
to the deepest part of Pebbly Brook to escape them ; but, 
like other active powers, he was ruined by his alliances. 
Poor Jacob Doodle-calf could not go to school with the 
other boys, and one fine afternoon, about three o'clock 
(the school broke up at four), Tom found him ambling about 
the street, and pressed him into a visit to the school-porch. 
Jacob, always ready to do what he was asked, consented, 
and the two stole down to the school together. Tom first 
reconnoitred the wheelwright's shop, and seeing no signs 
of activity, thought all safe in that quarter, and ordered at 
once an advance of all his troops upon the school-porch. 
The door of the school was ajar, and the boys seated on 
the nearest bench at once recognized and opened a cor- 
respondence with the invaders. Tom, waxing bold, kept 
putting his head into the school and making faces at the 
master when his back was turned. Poor Jacob, not in the 
least comprehending the situation, and in high glee at find- 
ing himself so near the school, which he had never been 
allowed to enter, suddenly, in a fit of enthusiasm, pushed by 
Tom, and ambling three steps into the school, stood there, 
looking round him and nodding with a self-approving smile. 



The master, who was stooping over a boy's slate, with his 
back to the door, became aware of something unusual, and 
turned quickly round. Tom rushed at Jacob, and began 
dragging him back by his smock-frock, and the master 
made at them, scattering forms and boys in his career. 
Even now they might have escaped, but that in the porch, 
barring retreat, appeared the crafty wheelwright, who had 
been watching all their proceedings. So they were seized, 
the school dismissed, and Tom and Jacob led away to 
Squire Brown as lawful prize, the boys following to the 
gate in groups, and speculating on the result. 

The Squire was very angry at first, but the interview, by 
Tom's pleading, ended in a compromise. Tom was not to 
go near the school till three o'clock, and only then if he 
had done his own lessons well, in which case he was to 
be the bearer of a note to the master from Squire Brown, 
and the master agreed in such case to release ten or twelve 
of the best boys an hour before the time of breaking up, 
to go off and play in the close. The wheelwright's adzes 
and swallows were to be for ever respected ; and that hero 
and the master withdrew to the servants' hall to drink the 
Squire's health, well satisfied with their day's work. 

The second act of Tom's life may now be said to have 
begun. The war of independence had been over for some 
time : none of the w^omen now, not even his mother's maid, 
dared offer to help him in dressing or washing. Between 
ourselves, he had often at first to run to Benjy in an 
unfinished state of toilet ; Charity and the rest of them 
seemed to take a delight in putting impossible buttons and 
ties in the middle of his back ; but he would have gone 
without nether integuments altogether, sooner than have had 





recourse to female valeting. He had a room to himself, and 
his father gave him sixpence a week pocket-money. All 
this he had achieved by Benjy's advice and assistance. 
But now he had conquered another step in life, the step 
which all real boys so long to make ; he had got amongst 
his equals in age and strength, and could measure himself 
with other boys ; he lived with those whose pursuits and 
wishes and ways were the same in kind as his own. 

The little governess who had lately been installed in the 
house found her work grow wondrously easy, for Tom 
slaved at his lessons in order to make sure of his note to 
the schoolmaster. So there were very few days in the week 
in which Tom and the village boys were not playing in their 
close by three o'clock. Prisoner's base, rounders, high-cock- 
a-lorum, cricket, football, he was soon initiated into the 
delights of them all ; and though most of the boys were 
older than himself, he managed to hold his own very well. 
He was naturally active and strong, and quick of eye and 
hand, and had the advantage of light shoes and well-fitting 
dress, so that in a short time he could run and jump and 
climb with any of them. 

They generally finished their regular games half an hour 
or so before tea-time, and then began trials of skill and 
strength in many ways. Some of them w-ould catch the 
Shetland pony who was turned but in the field, and get 
two or three together on his back, and the little rogue, en- 
joying the fun, would gallop off for fifty yards and then 
turn round, or stop short and shoot them on to the turf, 
and then graze quietly on till he felt another load ; others 
played peg-top or marbles, while a few of the bigger ones 
stood up for a bout at wrestling. Tom at first only looked 



I i)/A'4. 

( (^ 




on at this pastime, but it had pecuHar attractions for him, 
and he could not long keep out of it. Elbow and collar 
wrestling as practised in the western counties was, next to 
back-swording, the way to fame for the youth of the \''ale ; 
and all the boys knew the rules of it, and were more or 
less expert. But Job Rudkin and Harry Winburn were the 
stars, the former stiff and sturdy, with legs like small towers, 
the latter pliant as india-rubber, and quick as lightning. Day 
after day they stood foot to foot, and offered first one hand 
and then the other, and grappled and closed and swayed 
and strained, till a well-aimed crook of the heel or thrust 
of the loin took effect, and a fair back-fall ended the matter. 
And Tom watched with all his eyes, and first challenged 
one of the less scientific, and threw him ; and so one by 
one wrestled his way up to the leaders. 

Then, indeed, for months he had a poor time of it ; it 
was not long, indeed, before he could manage to keep his 
legs against Job, for that hero was slow of offence, and 
gained his victories chiefly by allowing others to throw 
themselves against his immovable legs and loins. But 
Harry Winburn was undeniably his master ; from the first 
clutch of hands when they stood up, down to the last trip 
which sent him on to his back on the turf, he felt that 
Harry knew more and could do more than he. Luckily, 
Harry's bright unconsciousness, and Tom's natural good 
temper, kept them from ever quarrelling ; and so Tom 
worked on and on, and trod more and more nearly on 
Harry's heels, and at last mastered all the dodges and falls 
except one. This one was Harry's own particular invention 
and pet ; he scarcely ever used it except when hard pressed, 
but then out it came, and as sure as it did, over went poor 



Tom, He thought about that fall at his meals, in his walks, 
when he lay awake in bed, in his dreams — but all to no 
purpose ; until Harry one day in his open way suggested 
to him how he thought it should be met, and in a week 
from that time the boys were equal, save only the slight 
difference of strength in Harry's favour, which some extra 
ten months of age gave. Tom had often afterwards reason 
to be thankful for that early drilling, and above all for 
having mastered Harry Winburn's fall. 

Besides their home games, on Saturdays the boys would 
wander all over the neighbourhood ; sometimes to the downs, 
or up to the camp, where they cut their initials out in the 
springy turf, and watched the hawks soaring, and the ' peert ' 
bird, as Harry Winburn called the grey plover, gorgeous in 
his wedding feathers ; and so home, racing down the Manger 
with many a roll among the thistles, or through Uffington 
Wood to watch the fox cubs playing in the green rides ; 
sometimes to Rosy Brook, to cut long whispering reeds 
which grew there, to make pan-pipes of ; sometimes to Moor 
Mills, where was a piece of old forest land, with short 
browsed turf and tufted brambly thickets stretching under 
the oaks, amongst which rumour declared that a raven, last 
of his race, still lingered ; or to the sand-hills, in vain quest 
of rabbits ; and birds'-nesting, in the season, anywhere 
and everywhere. 

The few neighbours of the Squire's own rank every now 
and then would shrug their shoulders as they drove or rode 
by a party of boys with Tom in the middle, carrying along 
bulrushes or w^hispering reeds, or great bundles of cowslip 
and meadow-sweet, or young starlings or magpies, or other 
spoil of wood, brook, or meadow : and Lawyer Red-tape 



might mutter to Squire Straightback at the Board, that no 
good would come of the young Browns, if they were let 
run wild with all the dirty village boys, whom the best 
farmers' sons even would not play with. And the Squire 
might reply with a shake of his head, that his sons only 
mixed with their equals, and never went into the village 
without the governess or a footman. But, luckily. Squire 
Brown was full as stiff-backed as his neighbours, and so 
went on his own way ; and Tom and his younger brothers, 
as they grew up, went on playing with the village boys, 
without the idea of equality or inequality (except in wrestling, 
running, and climbing) ever entering their heads, as it does n't 
till it 's put there by Jack Nastys or fine ladies' maids. 

I don't mean to say it would be the case in all villages, 
but it certainly was so in this one ; the village boys were 
full as manly and honest, and certainly purer than those in 
a higher rank ; and Tom got more harm from his equals in 
his first fortnight at a private school where he went when 
he was nine years old, than he had from his village friends 
from the day he left Charity's apron-strings. 

Great was the grief amongst the village schoolboys when 
Tom drove off with the Squire, one August morning, to 
meet the coach on liis way to school. Each of them had 
given him some little present of the best that he had, and 
his small private box was full of peg-tops, white marbles 
(called ' alley-taws ' in the X'ale), screws, birds'-eggs, whip- 
cord, jews-harps, and other miscellaneous boys' wealth. 
Poor Jacob Doodle-calf, in floods of tears, had pressed upon 
him with spluttering earnestness his lame pet hedgehog (he 
had always some poor broken-down beast or bird by him) ; 
but this Tom had been obliged to refuse by the Squire's 



order. He had given them all a great tea under the big 
elm in their playground, for which Madam Brown had sup- 
plied the biggest cake ever seen in our village ; and Tom 
was really as sorry to leave them as they to lose him, but 
his sorrow was not unmixed with the pride and excitement 
of making a new step in life. 

And this feeling carried him through his first parting 
with his mother better than could have been expected. 
Their love was as fair and whole as human love can be, 
perfect self-sacrifice on the one side, meeting a young and 
true heart on the other. It is not within the scope of my 
book, however, to speak of family relations, or I should 
have much to say on the subject of English mothers, — 
aye, and of English fathers, and sisters, and brothers too. 

Neither have I room to speak of our private schools : 
what I have to say is about public schools, those much 
abused and much belauded institutions peculiar to England. 
So we must hurry through Master Tom's year at a private 
school as fast as we can. 

It was a fair average specimen, kept by a gentleman, 
with another gentleman as second master ; but it was little 
enough of the real work they did — merely coming into 
school when lessons were prepared and all ready to be 
heard. The whole discipline of the school out of lesson 
hours was in the hands of the two ushers, one of whom 
was always with the boys in their playground, in the school, 
at meals — in fact, at all times and ever}^vhere, till they 
were fairly in bed at night. 

Now the theory of private schools is (or was) constant 
supervision out of school ; therein differing fundamentally 
from that of public schools. 



It may be right or wrong ; but if right, this supervision 
surely ought to be the especial work of the head master, 
the responsible person. The object of all schools is not to 
ram Latin and Greek into boys, but to make them good 
English boys, good future citizens ; and by far the most 
important part of that work must be done, or not done, out 
of school hours. To leave it, therefore, in the hands of 
inferior men, is just giving up the highest and hardest part 
of the work of education. Were I a private schoolmaster, 
I should say, let who will hear the boys their lessons, but 
let me live with them when they are at play and rest. 

The two ushers at Tom's first school were not gentle- 
men, and very poorly educated, and were only driving their 
poor trade of usher to get such living as they could out of 
it. They were not bad men, but had little heart for their 
work, and of course were bent on making it as easy as 
possible. One of the methods by which they endeavoured 
to accomplish this was by encouraging tale-bearing, which 
had become a frightfullv common vice in the school in 
consequence, and had sapped all the foundations of school 
morality. Another was, by favouring grossly the biggest 
boys, u ho alone could have given them much trouble ; 
whereby those young gentlemen became most abominable 
tyrants, oppressing the little boys in all the small mean 
ways which prevail in private schools. 

Poor little Tom was made dreadfully unhappy in his 
first week by a catastrophe which happened to his first 
letter home. With huge labour he had, on the very eve- 
ning of his arrival, managed to fill two sides of a sheet of 
letter-paper with assurances of his love for dear mamma, his 
happiness at school, and his resolves to do all she would 



wish. This missive, with the help of the boy who sat at 
the desk next him, also a new arrival, he managed to fold 
successfully ; but this done, they were sadly put to it for 
means of sealing. Envelopes were then unknown, they had 
no wax, and dared not disturb the stillness of the evening 
school-room by getting up and going to ask the usher for 
some. At length Tom's friend, being of an ingenious turn of 
mind, suggested sealing with ink, and the letter was accord- 
ingly stuck down with a blob of ink, and duly handed by 
Tom, on his way to bed, to the housekeeper to be posted. 
It was not till four days afterwards that that good dame 
sent for him, and produced the precious letter, and some 
wax, saying, ' Oh, Master Brown, I forgot to tell you before, 
but your letter is n't sealed.' Poor Tom took the wax in 
silence and sealed his letter, with a huge lump rising in his 
throat during the process, and then ran away to a quiet 
corner of the playground, and burst into an agony of tears. 
The idea of his mother waiting day after day for the letter 
he had promised her at once, and perhaps thinking him 
forgetful of her, when he had done all in his power to 
make good his promise, was as bitter a grief as any which 
he had to undergo for many a long year. His wrath then 
was proportionately violent when he was aware of two boys, 
who stopped close by him, and one of whom, a fat gaby of 
a fellow, pointed at him, and called him ' Young mammy- 
sick ! ' Whereupon Tom arose, and giving vent thus to his 
grief and shame and rage, smote his derider on the nose 
and made it bleed — which sent that young worthy howling 
to the usher, who reported Tom for violent and unprovoked 
assault and batter^^ Hitting in the face was a felony pun- 
ishable with flogging, other hitting only a misdemeanour — 



a distinction not altogether clear in principle. Tom, however, 
escaped the penalty by pleading ' primum tempus ' ; and 
having written a second letter to his mother, enclosing some 
forget-me-nots, which he picked on their first half-holiday 
walk, felt quite happy again, and began to enjoy vastly a 
good deal of his new life. 

These half-holiday walks were the great events of the 
week. The whole fifty boys started after dinner with one 
of the ushers for Mazeldown, which was distant some mile 
or so from the school. Hazcldown measured some three 
miles round, and in the neighbourhood were several woods 
full of all manner of birds and butterflies. The usher 
walked slowly round the down with such boys as liked to 
accompany him ; the rest scattered in all directions, being 
only bound to appear again when the usher had completed 
his round, and accompany him home. They were forbidden, 
however, to go anywhere except on the down and into 
the woods, the village being especially prohibited, where 
huge bulls'-eyes and unctuous toffee might be procured in 
exchange for coin of the realm. 

Various were the amusements to which the boys then 
betook themselves. At the entrance of the down there 
was a steep hillock, like the barrows of Tom's own downs. 
This mound was the weekly scene of terrific combats, at a 
game called by the queer name of 'mud-patties.' The boys 
who played divided into sides under different leaders, and 
one side occupied the mound. Then, all parties having 
provided themselves with many sods of turf, cut with their 
bread-and-cheese knives, the side which remained at the 
bottom proceeded to assault the mound, advancing up on 
all sides under cover of a heavy fire of turfs, and then 



struggling for victory with the occupants, which was theirs as 
soon as they could, even for a moment, clear the summit, 
when they in turn became the besieged. It was a good 
rough dirty game, and of great use in counteracting the 
sneaking tendencies of the school. Then others of the boys 
spread over the downs, looking for the holes of humble-bees 
and mice, which they dug up without mercy, often (I regret 
to say) killing and skinning the unlucky mice, and (I do 
not regret to say) getting well stung by the humble-bees. 
Others went after butterflies and birds '-eggs in their seasons ; 
and Tom found on Hazeldown, for the first time, the beau- 
tiful little blue butterfly with golden spots on his wings, 
which he had never seen on his own downs, and dug out 
his first sand-martin's nest. This latter achievement resulted 
in a flogging, for the sand-martins built in a high bank close 
to the village, consequently out of bounds ; but one of the 
bolder spirits of the school, who never could be happy unless 
he was doing something to which risk attached, easily per- 
suaded Tom to break bounds and visit the martin's bank. 
From whence it being only a step to the toffee shop, what 
could be more simple than to go on there and fill their 
pockets ; or what more certain than that on their return, a 
distribution of treasure having been made, the usher should 
shortly detect the forbidden smell of bulls'-eyes, and, a 
search ensuing, discover the state of the breeches-pockets 
of Tom and his ally ? 

This ally of Tom's was indeed a desperate hero in the 
sight of the boys, and feared as one who dealt in magic, 
or something approaching thereto. Which reputation came to 
him in this wise. The boys went to bed at eight, and of 
course consequently lay awake in the dark for an hour or 



two, telling ghost-stories by turns. One night when it came 
to his turn, and he had dried up their souls by his story, 
he suddenly declared that he would make a fiery hand 
appear on the door ; and to the astonishment and terror of 
the boys in his room, a hand, or something like it, in pale 
light, did then and there appear. The fame of this exploit 
having spread to the other rooms, and being discredited 
there, the young necromancer declared that the same won- 
der would appear in all the rooms in turn, which it accord- 
ingly did ; and the whole circumstances having been privately 
reported to one of the ushers as usual, that functionary, 
after listening about at the doors of the rooms, by a sud- 
den descent caught the performer in his night-shirt, with a 
box of phosphorus in his guilty hand. Lucifer-matches 
and all the present facilities for getting acquainted with 
fire were then unknown ; the very name of phosphorus 
had something diabolic in it to the boy-mind ; so Tom's 
ally, at the cost of a sound flogging, earned what many 
older folk covet much — the very decided fear of most of 
his companions. 

He was a remarkable boy, and by no means a bad one. 
Tom stuck to him till he left, and got into many scrapes 
by so doing. But he was the great opponent of the tale- 
bearing habits of the school, and the open enemy of the 
ushers ; and so worthy of all support. 

Tom imbibed a fair amount of Latin and Greek at the 
school, but somehow on the whole it did n't suit him, or 
he it, and in the holidays he was constantly working the 
Squire to send him at once to a public school. Great was 
his joy, then, when in the middle of his third half-year, 
in October, 183 -, a fever broke out in the village, and 



the master having himself slightly sickened of it, the whole 
of the boys were sent off at a day's notice to their respec- 
tive homes. 

The Squire was not quite so pleased as Master Tom to 
see that young gentleman's brown merry face appear at 
home, some two months before the proper time, for Christ- 
mas holidays : and so after putting on his thinking cap, he 
retired to his study and wrote several letters, the result of 
which was, that one morning at the breakfast-table, about a 
fortnight after Tom's return, he addressed his wife with — 
' My dear, I have arranged that Tom shall go to Rugby at 
once, for the last six weeks of this half-year, instead of 
wasting them, riding and loitering about home. It is very kind 
of the Doctor to allow it. Will you see that his things are 
all ready by Friday, when I shall take him up to town, and 
send him down the next day by himself.' 

Mrs, Brown was prepared for the announcement, and 
merely suggested a doubt whether Tom were yet old enough 
to travel by himself. However, finding both father and son 
against her on this' point, she gave in like a wise woman, 
and proceeded to prepare Tom's kit for his launch into a 
public school. 




o /r! 

n A^ 


W'vi/"-,.,, ■ l*«^A^ ../fe*.. 

Jf,^v5^(i' ^-^'^*'*'*'^ 

Chaptfer IV 

' Let the steam-pot hiss till it 'j hot. 
Give me the speed of the Tantivy trot. ' 

R. E. E. Warburton, 'Coaching Song'' 

^xiivj^-A 'V?^^^' ^^^' ^^"^^ ^*^ S^^ "P' ^^ y°^ please. 
t^*"' a" i Tallv-ho coach for Leicester '11 be round 


in half an hour, and don't wait for nobody.' 
So spake the Boots of the Peacock Inn, 
Islington, at half-past two o'clock on the 
morning of a day in the early part of 
November, 183-, giving Tom at the same time a shake by 
the shoulder, and then putting down a candle and carr)'ing 
off his shoes to clean. 



Tom and his father had arrived in town from Berkshire 
the day before, and finding, on inquiry, that the Birming- 
ham coaches which ran from the city did not pass through 
Rugby, but deposited their passengers at Dunchurch, a 
village three miles distant on the main road, where said 
passengers had to wait for the Oxford and Leicester coach 
in the evening, or to take a postchaise — had resolved that 
Tom should travel down by the Tally-ho, which diverged 
from the main road and passed through Rugby itself. And 
as the Tally-ho was an early coach, they had driven out to 
the Peacock to be on the road. 

Tom had never been in London, and would have liked 
to have stopped at the Belle Savage, where they had been 
put down by the Star, just at dusk, that he might have gone 
roving about those endless, mysterious, gas-lit streets, which, 
with their glare and hum and moving crowds, excited 
him so that he could n't talk even. But as soon as he 
found that the Peacock arrangement would get him to 
Rugby by twelve o'clock in the day, whereas otherwise he 
would n't be there till the evening, all other plans melted 
away ; his one absorbing aim being to become a public- 
school boy as fast as possible, and six hours sooner or later 
seeming to him of the most alarming importance. 

Tom and his father had alighted at the Peacock, at about 
seven in the evening ; and having heard with unfeigned joy 
the paternal order at the bar, of steaks and oyster-sauce for 
supper in half an hour, and seen his father seated cosily 
by the bright fire in the coffee-room with the paper in his 
hand — Tom had run out to see about him, had wondered 
at all the vehicles passing and repassing, and had frater- 
nized with the boots and ostler, from whom he ascertained 



that the Tally-ho was a tiptop goer, ten miles an hour 
including stoppages, and so punctual that all the road set 
their clocks by her. 

Then being summoned to supper, he had regaled himself 
in one of the bright little boxes of the Peacock coffee-room, 
on the beef-steak and unlimited oyster-sauce, and brown 
stout (tasted then for the first time — a day to be marked 
for ever by Tom with a white stone) ; had at first attended 
to the excellent advice which his father was bestowing on 
him from over his glass of steaming brandy and water, and 
then begun nodding, from the united effects of the stout, 
the fire, and the lecture. Till the Squire, observing Tom's 
state, and remembering that it was nearly nine o'clock, and 
that the Tally-ho left at three, sent the little fellow off to 
the chambermaid, with a shake of the hand (Tom having 
stipulated in the morning before starting, that kissing should 
now cease between them) and a few parting words. 

'And now, Tom, my boy,' said the Squire, 'remember 
you are going, at your own earnest request, to be chucked 
into this great school, like a young bear, with all your 
troubles before you — earlier than we should have sent you 
perhaps. If schools are what they were in my time, you '11 
see a great many cruel blackguard things done, and hear 
a deal of foul bad talk. But never fear. You tell the 
truth, keep a brave and kind heart, and never listen to or 
say anything you would n't have your mother and sister 
hear, and you '11 never feel ashamed to come home, or 
we to see you.' 

The allusion to his mother made Tom feel rather chokey, 
and he would have liked to have hugged his father well, if 
it had n't been for the recent stipulation. 



As it was, he only squeezed his father's hand, and looked 
bravely up and said, ' I '11 try, father.' 

' I know you will, my boy. Is your money all safe ? ' 

'Yes,' said Tom, diving into one pocket to make sure. 

' And your keys ? ' said the Squire. 

'All right,' said Tom, diving into the other pocket. 

' Well then, good night. God bless you ! I '11 tell Boots 
to call you, and be up to see you off.' 

Tom was carried off by the chambermaid in a brown 
study, from which he was roused in a clean little attic, by 
that buxom person calling him a little darling, and kissing 
him as she left the room ; which indignity he was too much 
surprised to resent. And still thinking of his father's last 
words, and the look with which they were spoken, he knelt 
down and prayed, that come what might, he might never 
bring shame or sorrow on the dear folk at home. 

Indeed, the Squire's last words deserved to have their 
effect, for they had been the result of much anxious thought. 
All the way up to London he had pondered what he should 
say to Tom by way of parting advice ; something that the 
boy could keep in his head ready for use. By way of assist- 
ing meditation, he had even gone the length of taking out 
his flint and steel, and tinder, and hammering away for a 
quarter of an hour till he had manufactured a light for a 
long Trichinopoli cheroot, which he silently puffed ; to the 
no small wonder of Coachee, who was an old friend, and 
an institution on the Bath road ; and who always expected 
a talk on the prospects and doings, agricultural and social, 
of the whole county, when he carried the Squire. 

To condense the Squire's meditation, it was somewhat as 
follows : ' I won't tell him to read his Bible, and love and 



serve God ; if he don't do that for his mother's sake and 
teaching, he won't for mine. Shall I go into the sort of 
temptations he '11 meet with ? No, I can't do that. Never 
do for an old fellow to go into such things with a boy. He 
won't understand me. Do him more harm than good, ten 
to one. Shall I tell him to mind his work, and say he 's 
sent to school to make himself a good scholar ? Well, but 
he isn't sent to school for that — at any rate, not for that 
mainly. I don't care a straw for Greek particles, or the 
digamma, no more does his mother. What is he sent to 
school for .-* Well, partly because he wanted so to go. If 
he '11 only turn out a brave, helpful, truth-telling English- 
man, and a gentleman, and a Christian, that's all I want,' 
thought the Squire ; and upon this view of the case framed 
his last words of advice to Tom, which were well enough 
suited to his purpose. 

For they were Tom's first thoughts as he tumbled out of 
bed at the summons of Boots, and proceeded rapidly to wash 
and dress himself. At ten minutes to three he was down 
in the coffee-room in his stockings, carr^-ing his hat-box, 
coat, and comforter in his hand ; and there he found his 
father nursing a bright fire, and a cup of hot coffee and a 
hard biscuit on the table. 

' Now then, Tom, give us your things here, and drink 
this ; there 's nothing like starting warm, old fellow.' 

Tom addressed himself to the coffee, and prattled away 
while he worked himself into his shoes and his great coat, 
well warmed through ; a Petersham coat with velvet collar, 
made tight after the abominable fashion of those days. 
And just as he is swallowing his last mouthful, winding 
his comforter round his throat, and tucking the ends into 



the breast of his coat, the horn sounds, Boots looks in and 
says, ' Tally-ho, sir ; ' and they hear the ring and the rattle 
of the four fast trotters and the town-made drag, as it 
dashes up to the Peacock. 

' Anything for us, Bob I ' says the burly guard, dropping 
down from behind, and slapping himself across the chest. 

'Young genl'm'n, Rugby; three parcels, Leicester; 
hamper o' game, Rugby,' answers Ostler. 

'Tell young gent to look alive,' says guard, opening the 
hind boot and shooting in the parcels after examining them 
by the lamps. ' Here, shove the portmanteau up a-top — 
I '11 fasten him presently. Now then, sir, jump up behind.' 

'Good-bye, father — my love at home.' A last shake of 
the hand. Up goes Tom, the guard catching his hat-box 
and holding on with one hand, while with the other he 
claps the horn to his mouth. Toot, toot, toot ! the ostlers 
let go their heads, the four bays plunge at the collar, and 
away goes the Tally-ho into the darkness, forty-five seconds 
from the time they pulled up ; Ostler, Boots, and the Squire 
stand looking after them under the Peacock lamp. 

' Sharp work ! ' says the Squire, and goes in again to his 
bed, the coach being well out of sight and hearing. 

Tom stands up on the coach and looks back at his 
father's figure as long as he can see it, and then the guard, 
having disposed of his luggage, comes to an anchor, and 
finishes his buttonings and other preparations for facing the 
three hours before dawn ; no joke for those who minded 
cold, on a fast coach in November, in the reign of his 
late Majesty. 

I sometimes think that you boys of this generation are 
a deal tenderer fellows than we used to be. At any rate 



you 're much more comfortable travellers, for I see every 
one of you with his rug or plaid, and other dodges for pre- 
serving the caloric, and most of you going in those fuzzy, 
dusty, padded first-class carriages. It was another affair 
altogether, a dark ride on the top of the Tally-ho, I can 
tell you, in a tight Petersham coat, and your feet dangling 
six inches from the floor. Then you knew what cold was, 
and what it was to be without legs, for not a bit of feeling 
had you in them after the first half-hour. But it had its 
pleasures, the old dark ride. First there was the conscious- 
ness of silent endurance, so dear to every Englishman, — 
of standing out against something, and not giving in. Then 
there was the music of the rattling harness, and the ring 
of the horses' feet on the hard road, and the glare of the 
two bright lamps through the steaming hoar frost, over 
the leaders' ears, into the darkness ; and the cheery toot of 
the guard's horn, to warn some drowsy pikeman or the ostler 
at the next change; and the looking forward to daylight — 
and last but not least, the delight of returning sensation in 
your toes. 

Then the break of dawn and the sunrise, where can they 
be ever seen in perfection but from a coach roof ? You 
want motion and change and music to see them in their 
glory ; not the music of singing-men and singing-women, 
but good silent music, which sets itself in your own head, 
the accompaniment of work and getting over the ground. 

The Tally-ho is past St, Alban's, and Tom is enjoying 
the ride, though half-frozen. The guard, who is alone with 
him on the back of the coach, is silent, but has muffled 
Tom's feet up in straw, and put the end of an oat-sack over 
his knees. The darkness has driven him inwards, and he 



has gone over his Httle past Hfe, and thought of all his do- 
ings and promises, and of his mother and sister, and his 
father's last words ; and has made fifty good resolutions, 
and means to bear himself like a brave Brown as he is, 
though a young one. Then he has been forward into the 
mysterious boy-future, speculating as to what sort of a place 
Rugby is, and what they do there, and calling up all the 
stories of public schools which he has heard from big boys 
in the holidays. He is chock-full of hope and life, notwith- 
standing the cold, and kicks his heels against the back 
board, and would like to sing, only he does n't know how 
his friend the silent guard might take it. 

And now the dawn breaks at the end of the fourth stage, 
and the coach pulls up at a little road-side inn with huge 
stables behind. There is a bright fire gleaming through the 
red curtains of the bar-window, and the door is open. The 
coachman catches his whip into a double thong, and throws 
it to the ostler ; the steam of the horses rises straight up 
into the air. He has put them along over the last two 
miles, and is two minutes before his time ; he rolls down 
from the box and into the inn. The guard rolls off behind. 
* Now, sir,' says he to Tom, 'you just jump down, and I '11 
give you a drop of something to keep the cold out.' 

Tom finds a difhculty in jumping, or indeed in finding 
the top of the wheel with his feet, which may be in the 
next world for all he feels ; so the guard picks him off 
the coach-top, and sets him on his legs, and they stump off 
into the bar, and join the coachman and the other outside 

Here a fresh-looking barmaid serves them each with a 
glass of early purl as they stand before the fire, coachman 



and guard exchanging business remarks. The purl warms 
the cockles of Tom's heart, and makes him cough. 

' Rare tackle, that, sir, of a cold morning,' says the 
coachman, smiling. 'Time's up.' They are out again and 
up ; coachee the last, gathering the reins into his hands 
and talking to Jem the ostler about the mare's shoulder, 
and then swinging himself up on to the box — the horses 
dashing off in a canter before he falls into his seat. Toot- 
toot-tootle-too goes the horn, and away they are again, five- 
and-thirty miles on their road (nearly half-way to Rugby, 
thinks Tom), and the prospect of breakfast at the end of 
the stage. 

And now they begin to see, and the early life of the 
country-side comes out ; a market-cart or two, men in 
smock-frocks going to their work pipe in mouth, a whiff 
of which is no bad smell this bright morning. The sun 
gets up, and the mist shines like silver gauze. They pass 
the hounds jogging along to a distant meet, at the heels of 
the huntsman's hack, w^hose face is about the colour of the 
tails of his old pink, as he exchanges greetings wdth coach- 
man and guard. Now they pull up at a lodge, and take 
on board a well-muffled-up sportsman, with his gun-case and 
carpet-bag. An early up-coach meets them, and the coach- 
men gather up their horses, and pass one another with the 
accustomed lift of the elbow, each team doing eleven mile 
an hour, with a mile to spare behind if necessary. And 
here comes breakfast. 

•Twenty minutes here, gentlemen,' says the coachman, 
as they pull up at half-past seven at the inn door. 

Have we not endured nobly this morning, and is not this 
a worthy reward for much endurance ? There is the low, 




dark wainscoted room hung with sporting prints ; the hat- 
stand (with a whip or two standing up in it belonging to 
bagmen who are still snug in bed) by the door ; the blazing 
fire, with the quaint old glass over the mantelpiece, in which 
is stuck a large card with the list of the meets for the week 
of the county hounds. The table covered with the whitest 
of cloths and of china, and bearing a pigeon-pie, ham, 
round of cold boiled beef cut from a mammoth ox, and the 
great loaf of household bread on a wooden trencher. And 
here comes in the stout head-waiter, puffing under a tray 
of hot viands ; kidneys and a steak, transparent rashers 
and poached eggs, buttered toast and muffins, coffee and 
tea, all smoking hot. The table can never hold it all ; the 
cold meats are removed to the sideboard, they were only 
put on for show and to give us an appetite. And now fall 
on, gentlemen all. It is a w'ell-known sporting-house, and 
the breakfasts are famous. Two or three men in pink, on 
their way to the meet, drop in, and are very jovial and 
sharp-set, as, indeed, we all are. 

' Tea or coffee, sir ? ' says head-waiter, coming round 
to Tom. 

' Coffee, please,' says Tom, with his mouth full of muffin 
and kidney ; coffee is a treat to him, tea is not. 

Our coachman, I perceive, who breakfasts with us, is a 
cold beef man. He also eschews hot potations, and addicts 
himself to a tankard of ale, which is brought him by the 
barmaid. Sportsman looks on approvingly, and orders a 
ditto for himself. 

Tom has eaten kidney and pigeon-pie, and imbibed coffee, 
till his little skin is as tight as a drum ; and then has the 
further pleasure of paying head-waiter out of his own purse, 




in a dignified manner, and walks out before the inn door 
to see the horses put to. This is done leisurely and in a 
highly finished manner by the ostlers, as if they enjoyed the 
not being hurried. Coachman comes out with his way-bill 
and puffing a fat cigar which the sportsman has given him. 
Guard emerges from the tap, where he prefers breakfasting, 
licking round a tough-looking doubtful cheroot, which you 
might tie round your finger, and three whiffs of which 
would knock any one else out of time. 

The pinks stand about the inn door lighting cigars and 
waiting to see us start, while their hacks are led up and 
down the market-place on which the inn looks. They all 
know our sportsman, and we feel a reflected credit when 
we see him chatting and laughing with them. 

' Now, sir, please,' says the coachman ; all the rest of the 
passengers are up ; the guard is locking the hind boot. 

'A good run to you!' says the sportsman to the pinks, 
and is by the coachman's side in no time. 

' Let 'em go, Dick ! ' The ostlers fly back, drawing off the 
cloths from their glossy loins, and away we go through 
the market-place and down the High Street, looking in at 
the first-floor windows, and seeing several worthy burgesses 
shaving thereat ; while all the shop-boys who are cleaning 
the windows, and housemaids who are doing the steps, stop 
and look pleased as we rattle past, as if we were a part of 
their legitimate morning's amusement. We clear the town, 
and are well out between the hedgerows again as the town 
clock strikes eight. 

The sun shines almost warmlv, and breakfast has oiled 
all springs and loosened all tongues. Tom is encouraged 
by a remark or two of the guard's between the puffs of his 



oily cheroot, and besides is getting tired of not talking. 
He is too full of his destination to talk about anything else ; 
and so asks the guard if he knows Rugby. 

' Goes through it every day of my life. Twenty minutes 
afore twelve down — ten o'clock up.' 

' What sort of a place is it, please ? ' says Tom. 

Guard looks at him with a comical expression. ' Werry 
out-o'-the-way place, sir ; no paving to streets, nor no light- 
ing. 'Mazin' big horse and cattle fair in autumn — lasts a 
week — just over now. Takes town a week to get clean 
after it. Fairish hunting country. But slow place, sir, slow 
place : off the main road you see — only three coaches a 
day, and one on 'em a two-oss wan, more like a hearse nor a 
coach — Regulator — comes from Oxford. Young genl'm'n 
at school calls her Pig and Whistle, and goes up to college 
by her (six miles an hour) when they goes to enter. Belong 
to school, sir ? ' 

' Yes ; ' says Tom, not unwilling for a moment that the 
guard should think him an old boy. But then having some 
qualms as to the truth of the assertion, and seeing that if 
he were to assume the character of an old boy he could n't 
go on asking the questions he wanted, added — ' that is to 
say, I'm on my way there. I'm a new boy.' 

The guard looked as if he knew this quite as well as Tom. 

'You 're werr)- late, sir,' says the guard ; 'only six weeks 
to-day to the end of the half.' Tom assented. ' We takes 
up fine loads this day six weeks, and Monday and Tuesday 
arter. Hopes we shall have the pleasure of carrying you 

Tom said he hoped they would ; but he thought within 
himself that his fate would probably be the Pig and Whistle. 



*It pays uncommon cert'nly,' continues the guard. 'Werry 
free with their cash is the young genl'm'n. But, Lor' bless 
you, we gets into such rows all 'long the road, what wi' their 
pea-shooters, and long whips, and hollering, and upsetting 
every one as comes by; I'd a sight sooner carry one or 
two on 'em, sir, as I may be a carryin' of you now, than 
a coach-load.' 

' What do they do with the pea-shooters .-' ' inquires Tom. 

' Do wi' 'em ! why, peppers every one's faces as we comes 
near, 'cept the young gals, and breaks windows wi' them 
too, some on 'cm shoots so hard. Now 'twas just here last 
June, as we was a-driving up the first-day boys, they was 
mendin' a quarter-mile of road, and there was a lot of Irish 
chaps, reg'lar roughs, a-breaking stones. As we comes up, 
" Now, boys," says young gent on the box {smart young 
fellow and desper't reckless), " here's fun ! let the Pats have 
it about the ears." " God's sake, sir! " says Bob (that's my 
mate the coachman), "don't go for to shoot at 'em, they'll 
knock us off the coach." " Damme, Coachee," says young 
my lord, "you ain't afraid; hoora, boys! let 'em have it." 
" Hoora ! " sings out the others, and fill their mouths 
chock-full of peas to last the whole line. ]Sob, seeing as 
't was to come, knocks his hat over his eyes, hollers to his 
'osses, and shakes 'em up, and away we goes up to the 
line on 'em, twenty miles an hour. The Pats begin to 
hoora too, thinking it was a nmaway, and first lot on 'em 
stands grinnin' and wavin' their old hats as we comes 
abreast on 'em ; and then you 'd ha' laughed to see how 
took aback and choking savage they looked, when they gets 
the peas a-stinging all over 'em. But bless you, the laugh 
were n't all of our side, sir, by a long way. We was going 



so fast, and they was so took aback, that they did n't take 
what was up till we was half-way up the line. Then 't was, 
"look out all," surely. They howls all down the line fit 
to frighten you, some on 'em runs arter us and tries to 
clamber up behind, only we hits 'em over the fingers and 
pulls their hands off ; one as had had it very sharp act'ly 
runs right at the leaders, as though he 'd ketch 'em by the 
heads, only luck'ly for him he misses his tip, and comes 
over a heap o' stones first. The rest picks up stones, and 
gives it us right away till we gets out of shot, the young 
gents holding out werry manful with the pea-shooters and 
such stones as lodged on us, and a pretty many there was 
too. Then Bob picks hisself up again, and looks at young 
gent on box werry solemn. Bob 'd had a rum un in the ribs, 
which 'd like to ha' knocked him off the box, or made him 
drop the reins. Young gent on box picks hisself up, and 
so does we all, and looks round to count damage. Box's 
head cut open and his hat gone ; 'nother young gent's hat 
gone : mine knocked in at the side, and not one on us as 
wasn't black and blue somewheres or another, most on 'em 
all over. Two pound ten to pay for damage to paint, which 
they subscribed for there and then, and give Bob and me a 
extra half-sovereign each ; but I would n't go down that line 
again not for twenty half-sovereigns.' And the guard shook 
his head slowly, and got up and blew a clear brisk toot, toot. 

* What fun ! ' said Tom, who could scarcely contain his 
pride at this exploit of his future schoolfellows. He longed 
already for the end of the half that he might join them. 

' 'Taint such good fun though, sir, for the folk as meets 
the coach, nor for we who has to go back with it next day. 
Them Irishers last summer had all got stones ready for us, 



and was all but letting drive, and we 'd got two reverend 
gents aboard too. We pulled up at the beginning of the 
line, and pacified them, and we 're never going to carry no 
more pea-shooters, unless they promises not to fire where 
there 's a line of Irish chaps a stone-breaking.' The guard 
stopped and pulled away at his cheroot, regarding Tom 
benignantly the while. 

' Oh, don't stop ! tell us something more about the 

' Well, there 'd like to have been a pretty piece of work 
over it at Bicester, a while back. We was six mile from the 
town, when we meets an old square-headed grey-haired yeo- 
man chap, a-jogging along quite quiet. He looks up at the 
coach, and just then a pea hits him on the nose, and some 
catches his cob behind and makes him dance up on his 
hind-legs. I see'd the old boy's face flush and look plaguy 
awkward, and I thought we was in for somethin' nasty. 

' He turns his cob's head, and rides quietly after us just 
out of shot. How that ere cob did step! we never shook 
him off not a dozen yards in the six miles. At first the 
young gents was werry lively on him ; but afore we got in, 
seeing how steady the old chap come on, they was quite 
quiet, and laid their heads together what they should do. 
Some was for fighting, some for axing his pardon. He rides 
into the town close after us, comes up when we stops, and 
says the two as shot at him must come before a magistrate ; 
and a great crowd comes round, and we could n't get the 
osses to. But the young uns they all stand by one another, 
and says all or none must go, and as how they 'd fight it 
out, and have to be carried. Just as 'twas gettin' serious, 
and the old boy and the mob was going to pull 'em off the 



coach, one little fellow jumps up and says, " Here — I '11 
stay — I'm only going three miles further. My father's 
name 's Davis, he 's known about here, and I '11 go before 
the magistrate with this gentleman." " What ! be thee 
parson Davis's son.?" says the old boy. "Yes," says the 
young un. " Well, I be mortal sorry to meet thee in such 
company, but for thy father's sake and thine (for thee bi'st 
a brave young chap) I'll say no more about it." Didn't 
the boys cheer him, and the mob cheered the young chap 
— and then one of the biggest gets down, and begs his 
pardon werry gentlemanly for all the rest, saying as they 
all had been plaguy vexed from the first, but did n't like to 
ax his pardon till then, 'cause they felt they had n't ought 
to shirk the consequences of their joke. And then they all 
got down, and shook hands with the old boy, and asked 
him to all parts of the country, to their homes, and we 
drives off twenty minutes behind time, with cheering and 
hollering as if we was county members. But, Lor' bless 
you, sir,' says the guard, smacking his hand down on his 
knee and looking full into Tom's face, 'ten minutes arter 
they was all as bad as ever.' 

Tom showed such undisguised and open-mouthed interest 
in his narrations, that the old guard rubbed up his memory, 
and launched out into a graphic history of all the perform- 
ances of the boys on the roads for the last twenty years. 
Off the road he could n't go ; the exploit must have been 
connected with horses or vehicles to hang in the old fellow's 
head. Tom tried him off his own ground once or twice, 
but found he knew nothing beyond, and so let him have 
his head, and the rest of the road bowled easily away ; for 
old Blow-hard (as the boys called him) was a dry old file, 



with much kindness and humour, and a capital spinner of 
a yarn when he had broken the neck of his day's work, and 
got plenty of ale under his belt. 

What struck Tom's youthful imagination most was the 
desperate and lawless character of most of the stories. Was 
the guard hoaxing him? He couldn't help hoping that 
they were true. It 's very odd how almost all English boys 
love danger ; you can get ten to join a game, or climb a 
tree, or swim a stream, when there 's a chance of breaking 
their limbs or getting drowned, for one who '11 stay on level 
ground, or in his depth, or play quoits or bowls. 

The guard had just finished an account of a desperate 
fight which had happened at one of the fairs between the 
drovers and the farmers with their whips, and the boys with 
cricket bats and wickets, which arose out of a playful but 
objectionable practice of the boys going round to the public- 
houses and taking the linch-pins out of the wheels of the 
gigs, and was moralizing upon the way in which the Doctor, 
'a terrible stern man he'd heard tell,' had come down 
upon several of the performers, ' sending three on 'em off 
next morning, each in a po-chay with a parish constable,' 
when they turned a corner and neared the milestone, the 
third from Rugby. By the stone two boys stood, their 
jackets buttoned tight, waiting for the coach. 

'Look here, sir,' says the guard, after giving a sharp 
toot-toot, ' there 's two on 'em, out and out runners they be. 
They comes out about twice or three times a week, and 
spirts a mile alongside of us.' 

And as they came up, sure enough, away went two boys 
along the footpath, keeping up with the horses ; the first a 
light clean-made fellow going on springs, the other stout 



and round-shouldered, labouring in his pace, but going as 
dogged as a bull-terrier. 

Old Blow-hard looked on admiringly. * See how beautiful 
that there un holds hisself together, and goes from his hips, 
sir,' said he ; ' he 's a 'mazin' fine runner. Now many 
coachmen as drives a first-rate team 'd put it on, and try 
and pass 'em. But Bob, sir, bless you, he 's tender-hearted ; 
he 'd sooner pull in a bit if he see'd 'em a-gettin' beat. I 
do b'lieve too as that there un 'd sooner break his heart 
than let us go by him afore next milestone.' 

At the second milestone the boys pulled up short, and 
waved their hats to the guard, who had his watch out and 
shouted '4.56,' thereby indicating that the mile had been 
done in four seconds under the five minutes. They passed 
several more parties of boys, all of them objects of the 
deepest interest to Tom, and came in sight of the town at 
ten minutes before twelve. Tom fetched a long breath, and 
thought he had never spent a pleasanter day. Before he 
went to bed he had quite settled that it must be the great- 
est day he should ever spend, and did n't alter his opinion 
for many a long year — if he has yet. 


Ctepter V 

^ughy and ^QoiSaff 

Foot and eye opposed 

In dubious strife.^ 


ND so here 's Rugby, sir, at last, and 
you '11 be in plenty of time for 
dinner at the School-house, as I tell'd 
you,' said the old guard, pulling his horn 
out of its case, and tootle-tooing away ; 
while the coachman shook up his horses, 
and carried them along the side of the school close, round 
Dead-man's corner, past the school gates, and down the 
High Street to the Spread t2agle ; the wheelers in a 
spanking trot, and leaders cantering, in a style which 
would not have disgraced 'Cherry Bob,' 'ramping, stamp- 
ing, tearing, swearing Billy Harwood,' or any other of 
the old coaching heroes. 



Tom's heart beat quick as he passed the great school 
field or close, with its noble elms, in which several games 

y i,-=Kt 

Z_-vg- -^^-r' Yj/^ F" 

i. -» 

■ — -J — ■.■» 




at football were going on, and tried to take in at once the 
long line of grey buildings, beginning with the chapel, and 
ending with the School-house, the residence of the head 



master, where the great flag was lazily waving from the 
highest round tower. And he began already to be proud of 
being a Rugby boy, as he passed the school gates, with the 
oriel window above, and saw the boys standing there, looking 
as if the town belonged to them, and nodding in a familiar 
manner to the coachman, as if any one of them would be 
quite equal to getting on the box, and working the team 
down street as well as he. 

One of the young heroes, however, ran out from the rest, 
and scrambled up behind ; where, having righted himself, 
and nodded to the guard, with ' How do, Jem ? ' he turned 
short round to Tom, and, after looking him over for a 
minute, began — 

' I say, you fellow, is your name Brown .-' ' 

'Yes,' said Tom, in considerable astonishment; glad, 
however, to have lighted on some one already who seemed 
to know him. 

' Ah, I thought so : you know my old aunt, Miss East, 
she lives somewhere down your way in Berkshire. She 
wrote to me that you were coming to-day, and asked me 
to give you a lift.' 

Tom was somewhat inclined to resent the patronizing air 
of his new friend, a boy of just about his own height and 
age, but gifted with the most transcendent coolness and 
assurance, which Tom felt to be aggravating and hard to 
bear, but could n't for the life of him help admiring and 
envying — especially when young my lord begins hectoring 
two or three long, loafing fellows, half porter, half stableman, 
with a strong touch of the blackguard ; and in the end 
arranges with one of them, nicknamed Cooey, to carry 
Tom's luggage up to the School-house for sixpence. 







' And hcark 'ee, Cooey, it must be up in ten minutes, or 
no more jobs from me. Come along, Brown.' And away 
swaggers the young potentate, with his hands in his pockets, 
and Tom at his side, 

'All right, sir,' says Cooey, touching his hat, with a leer 
and a wink at his companions. 

'Hullo tho',' says East, pulling up, and taking another 
look at Tom, ' this '11 never do — haven't you got a hat? 
— we never wear caps here. Only the louts wear caps. 
Bless you, if you were to go into the quadrangle with 
that thing on, I — don't know what 'd happen.' The very 
idea was quite beyond young Master East, and he looked 
unutterable things. 

Tom thought his cap a very knowing affair, but confessed 
that he had a hat in his hat-box ; which was accordingly 
at once extracted from the hind boot, and Tom equipped 
in his go-to-meeting roof, as his new friend called it. But 
this did n't quite suit his fastidious taste in another minute, 
being too shiny ; so, as they walk up the town, they dive 
into Nixon's the hatter's, and Tom is arrayed, to his utter 
astonishment, and without paying for it, in a regulation 
cat-skin at seven-and-sixpence ; Xixon undertaking to send 
the best hat up to the matron's room, School-house, in 
half an hour. 

' You can send in a note for a tile on Monday, and make 
it all right, you know,' said Mentor; 'we're allowed two 
seven-and-sixers a half, besides what we bring from home.' 

Tom by this time began to be conscious of his new 
social position and dignities, and to luxuriate in the realized 
ambition of being a public-school boy at last, with a vested 
right of spoiling two seven-and-sixers in half a year. 






'You see,' said his friend, as they strolled up towards 
the school gates, in explanation of his conduct — ' a great 
deal depends on how a fellow cuts up at first. If he 's got 
nothing odd about him, and answers straightforward, and 
holds his head up, he gets on. Now you '11 do very well 
as to rig, all but that cap. You see I'm doing the hand- 
some thing by you, because my father knows yours ; besides, 
I want to please the old lady. She gave me half a sov 
this half, and perhaps '11 double it next, if I keep in her 
good books.' ■ 

There 's nothing for candour like a lower-school boy, 
and East was a genuine specimen — frank, hearty, and 
good-natured, well satisfied with himself and his position, 
and chock-full of life and spirits, and all the P.ugby 
prejudices and traditions which he had been able to get 
together in the long course of one half-year, during which 
he had been at the School-house. 

And Tom, notwithstanding his bumptiousness, felt friends 
with him at once, and began sucking in all his ways and 
prejudices as fast as he could understand them. 

East was great in the character of cicerone ; he carried 
Tom through the great gates, where were only two or 
three boys. These satisfied themselves with the stock 
questions — ' You fellow, what 's your name ? Where do 
you come from ? How old are you ? Where do you board ? 
and. What form are you in ? ' — and so they passed on 
through the quadrangle and a small courtyard, upon which 
looked down a lot of little windows (belonging, as his guide 
informed him, to some of the School-house studies), into 
the matron's room, where East introduced Tom to that 
dignitary ; made him give up the key of his trunk, that 





the matron might unpack his Hnen, and told the story of 
the hat and of his own presence of mind : upon the relation 
whereof the matron laughingly scolded him, for the coolest 
new boy in the house ; and East, indignant at the accusa- 
tion of newness, marched Tom off into the quadrangle, 
and began showing him the schools, and examining him 
as to his literary attainments ; the result of which was a 
prophecy that they would be in the same form, and could 
do their lessons together. 

' And now come in and see my study ; we shall have 
just time before dinner ; and afterwards, before calling- 
over, we '11 do the close.' 

Tom followed his guide through the School-house hall, 
which opens into the quadrangle. It is a great room thirty 
feet long and eighteen high, or thereabouts, with two great 
tables running the whole length, and two large fire-places 
at the side, with blazing fires in them, at one of which 
some dozen boys were standing and lounging, some of 
whom shouted to East to stop ; but he shot through with 
his convoy, and landed him in the long, dark passages, 
with a large fire at the end of each, upon which the studies 
opened. Into one of these, in the bottom passage. East 
bolted with our hero, slamming and bolting the door behind 
them, in case of pursuit from the hall, and Tom w^as for 
the first time in a Rugby boy's citadel. 

He had n't been prepared for separate studies, and 
w-as not a little astonished and delighted with the palace 
in question. 

It wasn't very large, certainly, being about six feet long 
by four broad. It could n't be called light, as there were 
bars and a grating to the window ; which little precautions 



were necessary in the studies on the ground-floor looking 
out into the close, to prevent the exit of small boys after 
locking-up, and the entrance of contraband articles. But 
it was uncommonly comfortable to look at, Tom thought. 
The space under the 
window at the further 
end was occupied by 
a square table covered 
with a reasonably clean 
and whole red and blue 
check tablecloth ; a hard- 
seated sofa covered with 
red stuff occupied one 
side, running up to the 
end, and making a seat 
for one, or by sitting 
close, for two, at the 
table; and a good stout 
wooden chair afforded 
a seat to another boy, 
so that three could 
sit and work together. 
The walls were wain- 
scoted half-way up, the 
wainscot being covered 
with green baize, the 
remainder with a bright-patterned paper, on which hung three 
or four prints, of dogs' heads ; Grimaldi winning the Ayles- 
bury steeplechase ; Amy Robsart, the reigning Waverley 
beauty of the day ; and Tom Crib in a posture of defence, 
which did no credit to the science of that hero, if truly 




represented. Over the door were a row of hat-pegs, and on 
each side bookcases with cupboards at the bottom ; shelves 
and cupboards being filled indiscriminately with school- 
books, a cup or two, a mousetrap, and brass candlesticks, 
leather straps, a fustian bag, and some curious-looking 
articles, which puzzled Tom not a little, until his friend 
explained that they were climbing-irons, and showed their 
use. A cricket bat and small fishing-rod stood up in 
one corner. 

This was the residence of East and another boy in the 
same form, and had more interest for Tom than Windsor 
Castle, or any other residence in the British Isles. For 
was he not about to become the joint owner of a similar 
home, the first place which he could call his own ? One's 
own — what a charm there is in the words ! How long 
it takes boy and man to find out their worth ! how fast 
most of us hold on to them ! faster and more jealously, 
the nearer we are to that general home, into which we 
can take nothing, but must go naked as we came into 
the world. When shall we learn that he who multiplieth 
possessions multiplieth troubles, and that the one single 
use of things which we call our own is that they may be 
his who hath need of them ? 

' And shall I have a study like this too ? ' said Tom. 

* Yes, of course, you '11 be chummed with some fellow 
on Monday, and you can sit here till then.' 

* What nice places ! ' 

* They 're well enough, ' answered East patronizingly, ' only 
uncommon cold at nights sometimes. Gower — that 's my 
chum — and I make a fire with paper on the floor after 
supper generally, only that makes it so smoky.' 



'But there 's a big fire out in the passage,' said Tom. 

* Precious Httle good we get out of that tho',' said East ; 
'Jones the praepostor has the study at the fire end, and 
he has rigged up an iron rod and green baize curtain 
across the passage, which he draws at night, and sits there 
with his door open, so he gets all the fire, and hears if 
we come out of our studies after eight, or make a noise. 
However, he 's taken to sitting in the fifth-form room lately, 
so we do get a bit of fire now sometimes ; only to keep 
a sharp look-out that he don't catch you behind his curtain 
when he comes down — that's all.' 

A quarter past one now struck, and the bell began 
tolling for dinner, so they went into the hall and took their 
places, Tom at the very bottom of the second table, next 
to the praepostor (who sat at the end to keep order there), 
and East a few paces higher. And now Tom for the first 
time saw his future schoolfellows in a body. In they came, 
some hot and ruddy from football or long walks, some pale 
and chilly from hard reading in their studies, some from 
loitering over the fire at the pastrycook's, dainty mortals, 
bringing with them pickles and sauce-bottles to help them 
with their dinners. And a great big-bearded man, whom 
Tom took for a master, began calling over the names, 
while the great joints were being rapidly carved on a third 
table in the corner by the old verger and the housekeeper. 
Tom's turn came last, and meanwhile he was all eyes, 
looking first with awe at the great man who sat close to 
him, and was helped first, and who read a hard-looking 
book all the time he was eating ; and when he got up and 
walked off to the fire, at the small boys round him, some 
of whom were reading, and the rest talking in whispers to 


one another, or stealing one another's bread, or shooting 
pellets, or digging their forks through the tablecloth. How- 
ever, notwithstanding his curiosity, he managed to make 


a capital dinner by the time the big man called ' Stand 
up ! ' and said grace. 

As soon as dinner was over, and Tom had been ques- 
tioned by such of his neighbours as were curious as to his 
birth, parentage, education, and other like matters. East, 
who evidently enjoyed his new dignity of patron and 
Mentor, proposed having a look at the close, which Tom, 



athirst for knowledge, gladly assented to, and they went 
out through the quadrangle, and past the big fives court, 
into the great playground. 

.•Ts- ^ 

■■*'■■' '«*, 


'That's the chapel you see,' said East, 'and there, just 
behind it, is the place for fights ; you see it 's most out 
of the way of the masters, who all live on the other side 
and don't come by here after first lesson or callings-over. 



That 's when the fights come off. And all this part where 
we are is the little-side ground, right up to the trees, and 
on the other side of the trees is the big-side ground, where 
the great matches are played. And there 's the island in 
the furthest corner ; you '11 know that well enough next 
half, when there 's island fagging. I say, it 's horrid cold, 
let's have a run across,' and away went East, Tom close 
behind him. East was evidently putting his best foot fore- 
most, and Tom, who was mighty proud of his running, 
and not a little anxious to show his friend that although 
a new boy he was no milksop, laid himself down to work 
in his very best style. Right across the close they went, 
each doing all he knew, and there wasn't a yard between 
them when they pulled up at the island moat. 

' I say,' said East, as soon as he got his wind, looking 
with much increased respect at Tom, ' you ain't a bad scud, 
not by no means. Well, I'm as warm as a toast now.' 

' But why do you wear white trousers in November ? ' 
said Tom. He had been struck by this peculiarity in the 
costume of almost all the School-house boys. 

'Why, bless us, don't you know.!" — No, I forgot. Why, 
to-day's the School-house match. Our house plays the whole 
of the School at football. And we all wear white trousers, to 
show 'em we don't care for hacks. You 're in luck to come 
to-day. You just will see a match ; and Brooke 's going to 
let me play in quarters. That 's more than he '11 do for any 
other lower-school boy, except James, and he 's fourteen.' 

' Who 's Brooke } ' 

'Why, that big fellow who called over at dinner, to be 
sure. He 's cock of the School, and head of the School- 
house side, and the best kick and charger in Rugby.' 



' Oh, but do show me where they play. And tell me 
about it. I love football so, and have played all my life. 
Won't Brooke let me play ? ' 

'Not he,' said East, with some indignation; 'why, you 
don't know the rules — you'll be a month learning them. 
And then it 's no joke playing-up in a match, I can tell you. 
Quite another thing from your private school games. Why, 
there 's been two collar-bones broken this half, and a dozen 
fellows lamed. And last year a fellow had his leg broken.' 

Tom listened with the profoundest respect to this chapter 
of accidents, and followed East across the level ground till 
they came to a sort of gigantic gallows of two poles eight- 
een feet high, fixed upright in the ground some fourteen 
feet apart, with a cross-bar running from one to the other 
at the height of ten feet or thereabouts. 

'This is one of the goals,' said East, 'and you see the 
other, across there, right opposite, under the Doctor's wall. 
Well, the match is for the best of three goals ; whichever 
side kicks two goals wins : and it won't do, you see, just 
to kick the ball through these posts, it must go over the 
cross-bar ; any height '11 do, so long as it 's between the 
posts. You '11 have to stay in goal to touch the ball when 
it rolls behind the posts, because if the other side touch it 
they have a try at goal. Then we fellows in quarters, we 
play just about in front of goal here, and have to turn the 
ball and kick it back before the big fellows on the other 
side can follow it up. And in front of us all the big fel- 
lows play, and that 's where the scrummages are mostly.' 

Tom's respect increased as he struggled to make out his 
friend's technicalities, and the other set to work to explain 
the mysteries of 'off your side,' 'drop-kicks,' 'punts,' 


TOM i;r()\\x*s school days 

'places,' and the other intricacies of the <;reat science 
of football. 

' Hut how do you keep the ball between the fjoals ? ' said he ; 
•I can't see whv it nii«;ht n't ^o rii,dit down to the chapel.' 


•^•, ...I.*. 


'Why, that's out of play,' answered P2ast. ' Vou see this 
gravel walk running down all along this side of the playing- 
ground, and the line of elms opposite on the other .'' Well, 
they 're the bounds. As soon as the ball gets past them, 
it 's in touch, and out of play. And then whoever first 



touches it, has to knock it straight out amongst the players- 
up, who make two hnes with a space between them, every 
fellow going on his own side. Ain't there just fine scrum- 
mages then ! and the three trees you see there which come 
out into the play, that 's a tremendous place when the 
ball hangs there, for you get thrown against the trees, and 
that's worse than any hack.' 

Tom wondered within himself, as they strolled back again 
towards the fives court, whether the matches were really 
such break-neck affairs as East represented, and whether, if 
they were, he should ever get to like them and play-up w-ell. 

He had n't long to \vonder, however, for next minute 
East cried out, 'Hurra! here's the punt-about — come 
along and try your hand at a kick.' The punt-about is the 
practice-ball, which is just brought out and kicked about 
anyhow from one boy to another before callings-over and 
dinner, and at other odd times. They joined the boys who 
had brought it out, all small School-house fellows, friends of 
East ; and Tom had. the pleasure of trying his skill, and 
performed very creditably, after first driving his foot three 
inches into the ground, and then nearly kicking his leg 
into the air, in vigorous efforts to accomplish a drop-kick 
after the manner of East. 

Presently more boys and bigger came out, and boys from 
other houses on their way to calling-over, and more balls 
were sent for. The crowed thickened as three o'clock 
approached ; and when the hour struck, one hundred and 
fifty boys were hard at work. Then the balls were held, 
the master of the week came down in cap and gown to 
calling-over, and the whole school of three hundred boys 
swept into the big school to answer to their names. 



' I may come in, may n't I ? ' said Tom, catching East 
by the arm and longing to feel one of them. 

' Yes, come along, nobody '11 say anything. You won't 
be so eager to get into calling-over after a month,' replied 
his friend ; and they marched into the big school together. 


and up to the further end, where that illustrious form, the 
lower fourth, which had the honour of East's patronage 
for the time being, stood. 

The master mounted into the high desk by the door, 
and one of the praepostors of the week stood by him on 
the steps, the other three marching up and down the mid- 
dle of the school with their canes, calling out ' Silence, 



silence ! ' The sixth form stood close by the" door on the 
left, some thirty in number, mostly great big grown men, 
as Tom thought, surveying them from a distance with awe. 
The fifth form behind them, twice their number and not 
quite so big. These on the left ; and on the right the lower 
fifth, shell, and all the junior forms in order ; while up the 
middle marched the three praepostors. 

Then the praepostor who stands by the master calls out 
the names, beginning with the sixth form, and as he calls, 
each boy answers ' here ' to his name, and walks out. 
Some of the sixth stop at the door to turn the whole 
string of boys into the close ; it is a great match day, and 
every boy in the school, will he, nill he, must be there. 
The rest of the sixth go forwards into the close, to see 
that no one escapes by any of the side gates. 

To-day, however, being the School-house match, none of 
the School-house praepostors stay by the door to watch for 
truants of their side ; there is carte blanche to the School- 
house fags to go Xvhere they like : ' They trust to our 
honour,' as East proudly informs Tom; 'they know very 
well that no School-house boy would cut the match. If he 
did, we 'd very soon cut him, I can tell you.' 

The master of the week being short-sighted, and the 
praepostors of the week small and not well up to their 
work, the lower-school boys employ the ten minutes which 
elapse before their names are called in pelting one another 
vigorously with acorns, which fly about in all directions. 
The small praepostors dash in every now and then, and 
generally chastise some quiet, timid boy who is equally 
afraid of acorns and canes, while the principal performers 
get dexterously out of the way ; and so calling-over rolls 


on somehow, much Hke the big world, punishments lighting 
on wrong shoulders, and matters going generally in a queer, 



cross-grained way, but the end coming somehow, which is 
after all the great point. And now the master of the week 
has finished, and locked up the big school ; and the prae- 
postors of the week come out, sweeping the last remnant 



of the School fags —who had been loafing about the corners 
by the fives court, in hopes of a chance of bolting — • before 
them into the close. 

' Hold the punt-about ! ' * To the goals ! ' are the cries, 
and all stray balls are impounded by the authorities ; and 
the whole mass of boys moves up towards the two goals, 
dividing as they go into three bodies. That little band on 
the left, consisting of from fifteen to twenty boys, Tom 
amongst them, who are making for the goal under the 
School-house wall, are the School-house boys who are not 
to play-up, and have to stay in goal. The larger body mov- 
ing to the island goal are the School boys in a like predica- 
ment. The great mass in the middle are the players-up, 
both sides mingled together; they are hanging their jackets, 
and all who mean real work their hats, waistcoats, neck- 
handkerchiefs, and braces, on the railings round the small 
trees ; and there they go by twos and threes up to their 
respective grounds. There is none of the colour and tasti- 
ness of get-up, you will perceive, which lends such a life to 
the present game at Rugby, making the dullest and worst- 
fought match a pretty sight. Now each house has its own 
uniform of cap and jersey, of some lively colour : but at the 
time we are speaking of, plush caps have not yet come in, 
or uniforms of any sort, except the School-house white 
trousers, which are abominably cold to-day : let us get to 
work, bareheaded and girded with our plain leather straps 
— but we mean business, gentlemen. 

And now that the two sides have fairly sundered, and 
each occupies its own ground, and we get a good look at 
them, what absurdity is this ? You don't mean to say that 
those fifty or sixty boys in white trousers, many of them 



quite small, are going to play that huge mass opposite ? 
Indeed I do, gentlemen ; they 're going to try at any rate, 
and won't make such a bad fight of it either, mark my word ; 
for has n't old lirooke won the toss with his lucky halfpenny, 
and got choice of goals and kick-off ? The new ball you 
may see lie there cjuite by itself, in the middle, pointing 
towards the school or island goal ; in another minute it will 
be well on its way there. Use that minute in remarking 
how the School-house side is drilled. Vou will see, in the 
first place, that the sixth-form boy who has the charge of 
goal has spread his force (the goal-keepers) so as to occupy 
the whole space behind the goal-posts, at distances of about 
five yards apart ; a safe and well-kept goal is the foundation 
of all good play. Old Brooke is talking to the captain of 
quarters ; and now he moves away ; see how that youngster 
spreads his men (the light brigade) carefully over the 
ground, half-way between their own goal and the body of 
their own players-up (the heaxy brigade). These again play 
in several bodies ; there is young Brooke and the bulldogs 
— mark them well — they are the 'fighting brigade,' the 
'die-hards,' larking about at leap-frog to keep themselves 
warm, and playing tricks on one another. And on each side 
of old Brooke, who is now standing in the middle of the 
ground and just going to kick-off, you see a separate wing of 
players-up, each with a boy of acknowledged prowess to look 
to — here Warner, and there Hedge ; but over all is old 
Brooke, absolute as he of Russia, but wisely and bravely 
ruling over willing and worshipping subjects, a true football 
king. His face is earnest and careful as he glances a last 
time over his array, but full of pluck and hope, the sort of 
look I hope to see in my general when I go out to fight. 



The School side is not organized in the same way. The 
goal-keepers are all in lumps, anyhow and nohow ; you can't 
distinguish between the players-up and the boys in quar- 
ters, and there is divided leadership ; but with such odds in 
strength and weight it must take more than that to hinder 
them from winning ; and so their leaders seem to think, 
for they let the players-up manage themselves. 

But now look, there is a slight move forward of the 
School-house wings ; a shout of ' Are you ready ? ' and loud 
affirmative reply. Old Brooke takes half a dozen quick 
steps, and away goes the ball spinning towards the School 
goal ; seventy yards before it touches ground, and at no 
point above twelve or fifteen feet high, a model kick-off ; 
and the School-house cheer and rush on ; the ball is re- 
turned, and they meet it and drive it back amongst the 
masses of the School already in motion. Then the two 
sides close, and you can see nothing for minutes but a 
swaying crowd of boys, at one point violently agitated. 
That is where the ball is, and there are the keen players to 
be met, and the glory and the hard knocks to be got : you 
hear the dull thud, thud of the ball, and the shouts of 'Off 
your side,' 'Down with him,' 'Put him over,' 'Bravo.' 
This is what we call a scrummage, gentlemen, and the 
first scrummage in a School-house match was no joke in 
the consulship of Plancus. 

But see ! it has broken ; the ball is driven out on the 
School-house side, and a rush of the School carries it past 
the School-house players-up. ' Look out in quarters,' Brooke's 
and twenty other voices ring out ; no need to call though, 
the School-house captain of quarters has caught it on the 
bound, dodges the foremost School boys, who are heading 


the rush, and sends it back with a good drop-kick well into 
the enemy's countr)'. And then follows rush upon rush, and 
scrummage upon scrummage, the ball now driven through 
into the School-house quarters, and now into the School 
goal ; for the School-house have not lost the advantage 
which the kick-off and a slight wind gave them at the out- 
set, and are slightly ' penning ' their adversaries. You say, 
you don't see much in it all ; nothing but a struggling mass 
of boys, and a leather ball, which seems to excite them all 
to great fury, as a red rag docs a bull. My dear sir, a battle 
would look much the same to you, except that the boys 
would be men, and the balls iron ; but a battle would be 
worth your looking at for all that, and so is a football match. 
You can't be expected to appreciate the delicate strokes of 
play, the turns by which a game is lost and won, — it takes 
an old player to do that — but the broad philosophy of 
football you can understand if you will. Come along with 
me a little nearer, and let us consider it together. 

The ball has just fallen again where the two sides are 
thickest, and they close rapidly around it in a scrummage ; 
it must be driven through now by force or skill, till it flies 
out on one side or the other. Look how differently the boys 
face it ! Here come two of the bulldogs, bursting through 
the outsiders ; in they go, straight to the heart of the scrum- 
mage, bent on driving that ball out on the opposite side. 
That is what they mean to do. My sons, my sons ! you are 
too hot ; you have gone past the ball, and must struggle 
now right through the scrummage, and get round and back 
again to your own side, before you can be of any further 
use. Here comes young Brooke ; he goes in as straight 
as you, but keeps his head, and backs and bends, holding 



himself still behind the ball, and driving it furiously when 
he gets the chance. Take a leaf out of his book, you young 
chargers. Here come Speedicut, and Flashman, the School- 
house bully, with shouts and great action. Won't you two 
come up to young Brooke, after locking-up, by the School- 
house fire, with ' Old fellow, was n't that just a splendid 
scrummage by the three trees ! ' But he knows you, and 
so do we. You don't really want to drive that ball through 
that scrummage, chancing all hurt for the glory of the 
School-house — but to make us think that 's what you want 
— a vastly different thing ; and fellows of your kidney will 
never go through more than the skirts of a scrummage, 
where it 's all push and no kicking. We respect boys who 
keep out of it, and don't sham going in ; but you — we 
had rather not say what we think of you. 

Then the boys who are bending and watching on the out- 
side, mark them — they are most useful players, the dodgers ; 
who seize on the ball the moment it rolls out from amongst 
the chargers, and away with it across to the opposite goal ; 
they seldom go into the scrummage, but must have m.ore 
coolness than the chargers : as endless as are boys' charac- 
ters, so are their ways of facing or not facing a scrummage 
at football. 

Three-quarters of an hour are gone ; first winds are fail- 
ing, and weight and numbers beginning to tell. Yard by 
yard the School-house have been driven back, contesting 
every inch of ground. The bulldogs are the colour of 
mother earth from shoulder to ankle, except young Brooke, 
who has a marvellous knack of keeping his legs. The 
School-house are being penned in their turn, and now 
the ball is behind their goal, under the Doctor's wall. The 



Doctor and some of his family are there looking on, and 
seem as anxious as any boy for the success of the School- 
house. We get a minute's breathing time before old Brooke 
kicks out, and he gives the word to play strongly for touch, 
by the three trees. Away goes the ball, and the bulldogs 
after it, and in another minute there is shout of ' In touch,' 
'Our ball.' Now's your time, old Brooke, while your men 
are still fresh. He stands with the ball in his hand, while 
the two sides form in deep lines opposite one another : he 
must strike it straight out between them. The lines are 
thickest close to him, but young Brooke and two or three 
of his men are shifting up further, where the opposite line 
is weak. Old Brooke strikes it out straight and strong, and 
it falls opposite his brother. Hurra ! that rush has taken it 
right through the School line, and away past the three trees, 
far into their quarters, and young l^rooke and the bulldogs 
are close upon it. The School leaders rush back shouting 
' Look out in goal,' and strain every nerve to catch him, 
but they are after the fleetest foot in Rugby. There they 
go straight for the School goal-posts, quarters scattering 
before them. One after another the bulldogs go down, but 
young Brooke holds on. ' He is down.' No! a long stag- 
ger, but the danger is past ; that was the shock of Crew, 
the most dangerous of dodgers. And now he is close to 
the School goal, the ball not three yards before him. There 
is a hurried rush of the School fags to the spot, but no 
one throws himself on the ball, the only chance, and young 
Brooke has touched it right under the School goal-posts. 

The School leaders come up furious, and administer toco 
to the wretched fags nearest at hand ; they may well be 
angry, for it is all Lombard Street to a china orange that 



the School-house kick a goal with the ball touched in such 
a good place. Old Brooke of course will kick it out, but 
who shall catch and place it ? Call Crab Jones. Here he 
comes, sauntering along with a straw in his mouth, the 
queerest, coolest fish in Rugby : if he were tumbled into 
the moon this minute, he would just pick himself up with- 
out taking his hands out of his pockets or turning a hair. 
But it is a moment when the boldest charger's heart beats 
quick. Old Brooke stands with the ball under his arm 
motioning the School back ; he will not kick-out till they 
are all in goal, behind the posts ; they are all edging for- 
wards, inch by inch, to get nearer for the rush at Crab 
Jones, who stands there in front of old Brooke to catch the 
ball. If they can reach and destroy him before he catches, 
the danger is over ; and with one and the same rush they 
will carry it right away to the School-house goal. Fond 
hope ! it is kicked out and caught beautifully. Crab strikes 
his heel into the ground, to mark the spot where the ball 
was caught, beyond which the School line may not advance ; 
but there they stand, five deep, ready to rush the moment 
the ball touches the ground. Take plenty of room ! don't 
give the rush a chance of reaching you ! place it true and 
steady ! Trust Crab Jones — he has made a small hole 
with his heel for the ball to lie on, by which he is resting 
on one knee, with his eye on old Brooke. ' Now ! ' Crab 
places the ball at the word, old Brooke kicks, and it rises 
slowly and truly as the School rush forward. 

Then a moment's pause, while both sides look up at 
the spinning ball. There it flies, straight between the two 
posts, some five feet above the cross-bar, an unquestioned 
goal ; and a shout of real genuine joy rings out from the 



School-house players-up, and a faint echo of it comes over 
the close from the goal-keepers under the Doctor's wall. 
A goal in the first hour — such a thing hasn't been done 
in the School-house match this five years. 

' Over ! ' is the cr)' : the two sides change goals, and the 
School-house goal-keepers come threading their way across 
through the masses of the School ; the most openly trium- 
phant of them, amongst whom is Tom, a School-house boy 
of two hours' standing, getting their ears boxed in the 
transit. Tom indeed is excited beyond measure, and it is 
all the sixth-form boy, kindest and safest of goal-keepers, 
has been able to do to keep him from rushing out when- 
ever the ball has been near their goal. So he holds him by 
his side, and instructs him in the science of touching. 

At this moment Griffith, the itinerant vendor of oranges 
from Mill Morton, enters the close with his heavy baskets; 
there is a rush of small boys upon the little pale-faced man, 
the two sides mingling together, subdued by the great God- 
dess Thirst, like the English and French by the streams in 
the Pyrenees. The leaders are past oranges and apples, but 
some of them visit their coats, and apply innocent-looking 
ginger-beer bottles to their mouths. It is no ginger-beer 
though, I fear, and will do you no good. One short mad 
rush, and then a stitch in the side, and no more honest 
play ; that 's what comes of those bottles. 

But now Griffith's baskets are empty, the ball is placed 
again midway, and the School are going to kick off. Their 
leaders have sent their lumber into goal, and rated the rest 
soundly, and one hundred and twenty picked players-up are 
there, bent on retrieving the game. They are to keep the 
ball in front of the School-house goal, and then to drive it 



in by sheer strength and weight. They mean heavy play 
and no mistake, and so old Brooke sees ; and places Crab 
Jones in quarters just before the goal, with four or five 
picked players, who are to keep the ball away to the sides, 
where a try at goal, if obtained, will be less dangerous than 
in front. He himself, and Warner and Hedge, who have 
saved themselves till now, will lead the charges, 

' Are you ready ? ' ' Yes.' And away comes the ball, 
kicked high in the air, to give the School time to rush on 
and catch it as it falls. And here they are amongst us. 
Meet them like Englishmen, you School-house boys, and 
charge them home. Now is the time to show what mettle 
is in you — and there shall be a warm seat by the hall fire, 
and honour, and lots of bottled beer to-night, for him who 
does his duty in the next half-hour. And they are well 
met. Again and again the cloud of their players-up gathers 
before our goal, and comes threatening on, and Warner or 
Hedge, with young Brooke and the relics of the bulldogs, 
break through and . carry the ball back ; and old Brooke 
ranges the field like Job's war-horse, the thickest scrummage 
parts asunder before his rush, like the waves before a 
clipper's bows ; his cheery voice rings over the field, and 
his eye is everywhere. And if these miss the ball, and it 
rolls dangerously in front of our goal, Crab Jones and his 
men have seized it and sent it away towards the sides with 
the unerring drop-kick. This is worth living for ; the whole 
sum of schoolboy existence gathered up into one straining, 
struggling half-hour, a half-hour worth a year of common life. 

The quarter to five has struck, and the play slackens for 
a minute before goal ; but there is Crew, the artful dodger, 
driving the ball in behind our goal, on the island side, 

[ 123] 


where our quarters are weakest. Is there no one to meet 
him ? Yes ! look at Httle East ! the ball is just at equal dis- 
tances between the two, and they rush together, the young 
man of seventeen and the boy of twelve, and kick it at the 
same moment. Crew passes on without a stagger ; East is 
hurled forward by the shock, and plunges on his shoulder, 
as if he would bur)- himself in the ground ; but the ball 
rises straight into the air, and falls behind Crew's back, 
while the ' bravos ' of the School-house attest the pluckiest 
charge of all that hard-fought day. Warner picks East up 
lame and half stunned, and he hobbles back into goal, 
conscious of having played the man. 

And now the last minutes are come, and the School 
gather for their last rush, every boy of the hundred and 
twenty who has a run left in him. Reckless of the defence 
of their own goal, on they come across the level big-side 
ground, the ball well down amongst them, straight for our 
goal, like the column of the Old Guard up the slope at 
Waterloo. All former charges have been child's play to 
this. Warner and Hedge have met them, but still on they 
come. The bulldogs rush in for the last time ; they are 
hurled over or carried back, striving hand, foot, and eyelids. 
Old Brooke comes sweeping round the skirts of the play, 
and turning short round, picks out the very heart of the 
scrummage, and plunges in. It wavers for a moment — he 
has the ball ! No, it has passed him, and his voice rings 
out clear over the advancing tide, ' Look out in goal.' Crab 
Jones catches it for a moment ; but before he can kick, 
the rush is upon him and passes over him ; and he picks 
himself up behind them with his straw in his mouth, a 
little dirtier, but as cool as ever. 


The ball rolls slowly in behind the School-house goal 
not three yards in front of a dozen of the biggest School 

There stand the School-house praepostor, safest of goal- 
keepers, and Tom Brown by his side, who has learned his 
trade by this time. Now is your time, Tom. The blood of 
all the Browns is up, and the two rush in together, and 
throw themselves on the ball, under the very feet of the 
advancing column ; the praepostor on his hands and knees 
arching his back, and Tom all along on his face. Over 
them topple the leaders of the rush, shooting over the back 
of the praepostor, but falling flat on Tom, and knocking 
all the wind out of his small carcass. 'Our ball,' says the 
praepostor, rising with his prize, ' but get up there, there 's 
a little fellow under you.' They are hauled and roll off 
him, and Tom is discovered a motionless body. 

Old Brooke picks him up. ' Stand back, give him air,' 
he says ; and then feeling his limbs, adds, ' No bones 
broken. How do feel, young un } ' 

'Hah-hah,' gasps Tom as his wind comes back, 'pretty 
well, thank you — all right.' 

' Who is he .? ' says Brooke. 

'Oh, it's Brown, he's a new boy; I know him,' says 
East, coming up. 

' Well, he is a plucky youngster, and will make a player,' 
says Brooke. 

And five o'clock strikes. ' No side,' is called, and the 
first day of the School-house match is over. 


/ ^/> 'some Foocfwe f)ad. ' 

^3 JTOTOS aSv6. 

Ctopter VI 

After tf-?e A\atch 

(?^^^^^ns tup: boys scattered away from the 
CfiJ^Khl ground, and East, leaning on Tom's arm, 
and limping along, was beginning to con- 
sider what luxury they should go and buy 
for tea to celebrate that glorious victory, 
the two Brookes came striding by. Old 
Brooke caught sight of East, and stopped ; put his hand 
kindly on his shoulder and said, ' Bravo, youngster, you 
played famously ; not much the matter, I hope ? ' 

'No, nothing at all,' said East, 'only a little twist from 
that charge.' 

' Well, mind and get all right for next Saturday ' ; and 
the leader passed on, leaving East better for those few 
words than all the opodeldoc in England would have made 
him, and Tom ready to give one of his ears for as much 
notice. Ah ! light words of those whom we love and 



honour, what a power ye are, and how carelessly wielded 
by those who can use you ! Surely for these things also 
God will ask an account. 

'Tea's directly after locking-up, you see,' said East, 
hobbling along as fast as he could, 'so you come along 
down to Sally Harrowell's ; that 's our School-house tuck- 
shop — • she bakes such stunning murphies, we '11 have a 
penn'orth each for tea ; come along, or they '11 all be gone.' 

Tom's new purse and money burnt in his pocket ; he 
wondered, as they toddled through the quadrangle and 
along the street, whether East would be insulted if he sug- 
gested further extravagance, as he had not sufficient -faith 
in a pennyworth of potatoes. At last he blurted out, — ' I 
say. East, can't we get something else besides potatoes? 
I 've got lots of money, you know.' 

'Bless us, yes, I forgot,' said East, 'you've only just 
come. You see all my tin 's been gone this twelve weeks, 
it hardly ever lasts beyond the first fortnight ; and our allow- 
ances were all stopped this morning for broken windows, 
so I have n't got a penny. I 've got a tick at Sally's, of 
course ; but then I hate running it high, you see, towards 
the end of the half, 'cause one has to shell out for it all 
directly one comes back, and that 's a bore.' 

Tom didn't understand much of this talk, but seized on 
the fact that East had no money, and was denying himself 
some little pet luxury in consequence. 'Well, what shall I 
buy .? ' said he ; 'I'm uncommon hungry.' 

' I say,' said East, stopping to look at him and rest his 
leg, ' you 're a trump. Brown. I '11 do the same by you next 
half. Let 's have a pound of sausages, then ; that 's the best 
grub for tea I know of.' 



'Very well,' said Tom, as pleased as possible ; 'where do 
they sell them ? ' 

' Oh, over here, just opposite ' ; and they crossed the 
street and walked into the cleanest little front room of a 
small house, half parlour, half shop, and bought a pound 
of most particular sausages ; East talking pleasantly to 
Mrs. Porter while she put them in paper, and Tom doing 
the paying part. 

From Porter's they adjourned to Sally Harrowell's, where 
they found a lot of School-house boys waiting for the roast 
potatoes, and relating their own exploits in the day's match 
at the top of their voices. The street opened at once into 
Sally's kitchen, a low brick-floored room, with large recess 
for fire, and chimney-corner seats. Poor little Sally, the 
most good-natured and much enduring of womankind, was 
bustling about with a napkin in her hand, from her own 
oven to those of the neighbours' cottages, up the yard at 
the back of the house. Stumps, her husband, a short easy- 
going shoemaker, with a beery humorous eye and ponder- 
ous calves, who lived mostly on his wife's earnings, stood 
in a corner of the room, exchanging shots of the roughest 
description of repartee with every boy in turn. ' Stumps, you 
lout, you've had too much beer again to-day.' ''T was n't 
of your paying for, then.' — * Stumps's calves are running 
down into his ankles, they want to get to grass.' ' Better 
be doing that, than gone altogether like yours,' etc., etc. 
Very poor stuff it was, but it served to make time pass ; 
and every now and then Sally arrived in the middle with a 
smoking tin of potatoes, which was cleared off in a few 
seconds, each boy as he seized his lot running off to the 
house with ' Put me down two-penn'orth, Sally ' ; ' Put 





down three-penn'orth between me and Davis,' etc. How 
she ever kept the accounts so straight as she did, in her 
head, and on her slate, was a perfect wonder. 

East and Tom got served at last, and started back for 
the School-house just as the locking-up bell began to ring ; 
East on the way recounting the life and adventures of 
Stumps, who was a character. Amongst his other small 
avocations, he was the hind carrier of a sedan-chair, the 
last of its race, in which the Rugby ladies still went out to 
tea, and in which, when he was fairly harnessed and carry- 
ing a load, it was the delight of small and mischievous boys 
to follow him and whip his calves. This was too much for 
the temper even of Stumps, and he would pursue his tor- 
mentors in a vindictive and apoplectic manner when released, 
but was easily pacified by twopence to buy beer with. 

The lower-school boys of the School-house, some fifteen 
in number, had tea in the lower-fifth school, and were pre- 
sided over by the old verger or head-porter. Each boy had 
a quarter of a loaf of bread and pat of butter, and as much 
tea as he pleased ; and there was scarcely one who did n't 
add to this some further luxury, such as baked potatoes, a 
herring, sprats, or something of the sort ; but few, at this 
period of the half-year, could live up to a pound of Porter's 
sausages, and East was in great magnificence upon the 
strength of theirs. He had produced a toasting-fork from 
his study, and set Tom to toast the sausages, while he 
mounted guard over their butter and potatoes ; ' 'cause,' as 
he explained, ' you 're a new boy, and they '11 play you some 
trick and get our butter, but you can toast just as well as I.' 
So Tom, in the midst of three or four more urchins simi- 
larly employed, toasted his face and the sausages at the 




same time before the huge fire, till the latter cracked ; when 
East from his watch-tower shouted that they were done, 
and then the feast proceeded, and the festive cups of tea 
were filled and emptied, and Tom imparted of the sausages 
in small bits to many neighbours, and thought he had 
never tasted such good potatoes or seen such jolly boys. 
They on their parts waived all ceremony, and pegged away 
at the sausages and potatoes, and remembering Tom's per- 
formance in goal, voted East's new crony a brick. After 
tea, and while the things were being cleared away, they 
gathered round the fire, and the talk on the match still 
went on ; and those who had them to show, pulled up their 
trousers and showed the hacks they had received in the 
good cause. 

They were soon, however, all turned out of the school, 
and East conducted Tom up to his bedroom, that he might 
get on clean things and wash himself before singing. 

* What 's singing .'* ' said Tom, taking his head out of his 
basin, where he had been plunging it in cold water. 

'Well, you are jolly green,' answered his friend from a 
neighbouring basin. ' Why, the last six Saturdays of every 
half, we sing of course : and this is the first of them. No first 
lesson to do, you know, and lie in bed to-morrow morning.' 

* But who sings } ' 

* Why everybody, of course ; you '11 see soon enough. 
We begin directly after supper, and sing till bed-time. It 
ain't such good fun now tho' as in the summer half, 'cause 
then we sing in the little fives' court, under the library, you 
know. We take out tables, and the big boys sit round, and 
drink beer ; double allowance on Saturday nights ; and we 
cut about the quadrangle between the songs, and it looks 




like a lot of robbers in a cave. And the louts come and 
pound at the great gates, and we pound back again, and 
shout at them. But this half we only sing in the hall. 
Come along down to my study.' 

Their principal employment in the study was to clear out 
East's table, removing the drawers and ornaments and 
tablecloth ; for he lived in the bottom passage, and his 
table was in requisition for the singing. 

Supper came in due course at seven o'clock, consisting 
of bread and cheese and beer, which was all saved for the 
singing ; and directly afterwards the fags went to work to 
prepare the hall. The School-house hall, as has been said, 
is a great long high room, with two large fires on one side, 
and two large iron-bound tables, one running down the 
middle, and the other along the wall opposite the fire- 
places. Around the upper fire the fags placed the tables 
in the form of a horse-shoe, and upon them the jugs with 
the Saturday night's allowance of beer. Then the big boys 
used to drop in and take their seats, bringing with them 
bottled beer and song-books ; for although they all knew 
the songs by heart, it was the thing to have an old manu- 
script book descended from some departed hero, in which 
they were all carefully written out. 

The sixth-form boys had not yet appeared ; so to fill up 
the gap, an interesting and time-honoured ceremony was 
gone through. Each new boy was placed on the table in 
turn, and made to sing a solo, under the penalty of drink- 
ing a large mug of salt and water if he resisted or broke 
down. However, the new boys all sing like nightingales 
to-night, and the salt water is not in requisition ; Tom, 
V^ his part, performing the old West-country song of 




' The Leather Bottel ' with considerable applause. And at 
the half-hour down come the sixth and fifth form boys, and 
take their places at the tables, which are filled up by the 
next biggest boys, the rest, for whom there is no room at 
the tables, standing round outside. 

The glasses and mugs are filled, and then the fugleman 
strikes up the old sea song — 

' A wet sheet and a flowing sea, 
And a wind that follows fast,' etc. 

which is the invariable first song in the School-house, and 
all the seventy voices join in, not mindful of harmony, but 
bent on noise, which they attain decidedly, but the general 
effect isn't bad. And then follow the 'British Grenadiers,' 
'Billy Taylor,' 'The Siege of Seringapatam,' 'Three Jolly 
Postboys,' and other vociferous songs in rapid succession, 
including the ' Chesapeake and Shannon,' a song lately 
introduced in honour of old Brooke ; and when they come 
to the words — 

' Brave Broke he waved his sword, crying, " Now, my lads, aboard. 
And we '11 stop their playing Yankee-doodle-dandy oh ! " ' 

you expect the roof to come down. The sixth and fifth 
know that ' Brave Broke ' of the Shannon was no sort of 
relation to our old Brooke. The fourth form are uncertain 
in their belief, but for the most part hold that old Brooke 
was a midshipman then on board his uncle's ship. And 
the lower school never doubt for a moment that it was our 
old Brooke who led the boarders, in what capacity they care 
not a straw. During the pauses the bottled-beer corks fly 
rapidly, and the talk is fast and merry, and the big boys, 
at least all of them who have a fellow-feeling for dry throats, 



hand their mugs over their shoulders to be emptied by the 
small ones who stand round behind. 

Then Warner, the head of the house, gets up and wants 
to speak, but he can't, for every boy knows what 's coming ; 
and the big boys who sit at the tables pound them and 
cheer ; and the small boys who stand behind pound one 
another, and cheer, and rush about the hall cheering. Then, 
silence being made, Warner reminds them of the old 
School-house custom of drinking the healths, on the first 
night of singing, of those who are going to leave at the 
end of the half. ' He sees that they know what he is going 
to say already — (loud cheers) — and so won't keep them, 
but only ask them to treat the toast as it deserves. It is 
the head of the eleven, the head of big-side football, their 
leader on this glorious day — Pater Brooke ! ' 

And away goes the pounding and cheering again, becom- 
ing deafening when old Brooke gets on his legs : till, a 
table having broken down, and a gallon or so of beer been 
upset, and all throats getting dry, silence ensues, and the 
hero speaks, leaning his hands on the table, and bending 
a little forwards. No action, no tricks of oratory ; plain, 
strong, and straight, like his play. 

* Gentlemen of the School-house ! I am very proud of 
the way in which you have received my name, and I wish 
I could say all I should like in return. But I know I shan't. 
However, I '11 do the best I can to say what seems to me 
ought to be said by a fellow who 's just going to leave, and 
who has spent a good slice of his life here. Eight years it 
is, and eight such years as I can never hope to have again. 
So now I hope you '11 all listen to me — (loud cheers of 
'that we will') — for I'm going to talk seriously. You're 



bound to listen to me, for what 's the use of calhng me 
"pater," and all that, if you don't mind what I say? And 
I'm going to talk seriously, because I feel so. It's a jolly 
time, too, getting to the end of the half, and a goal kicked 
by us first day — (tremendous applause) — after one of the 
hardest and fiercest day's play I can remember in eight 
years — (frantic shoutings). The School played splendidly, 
too, I will say, and kept it up to the last. That last charge 
of theirs would have carried away a house. I never thought 
to see anything again of old Crab there, except little pieces, 
when I saw him tumbled over by it — (laughter and shout- 
ing, and great slapping on the back of Jones by the boys 
nearest him). Well, but we beat 'em — (cheers). Aye, but 
why did we beat 'em ? answer me that — (shouts of ' your 
play'). Nonsense! 'Twasn't the wind and kick-off either 
— that wouldn't do it. 'Twasn't because we've half a 
dozen of the best players in the school, as we have. I 
would n't change Warner, and Hedge, and Crab, and the 
young un, for any six on their side — (violent cheers). But 
half a dozen fellows can't keep it up for two hours against 
two hundred. Why is it, then ? I '11 tell you what I think. 
It 's because we 've more reliance on one another, more of 
a house feeling, more fellowship than the School can have. 
Each of us knows and can depend on his next hand man 
better — that 's why we beat 'em to-day. We 've union, 
they 've division — there 's the secret — (cheers). But how 's 
this to be kept up ? How 's it to be improved .? That 's the 
question. For I take it, we 're all in earnest about beat- 
ing the School, whatever else we care about. I know I'd 
sooner win two School-house matches running than get the 
Balliol scholarship any day — (frantic cheers). 



'Now I'm as proud of the house as any one. I beHeve 
it's the best hou&e in the school, out-and-out — (cheers). But 
it 's a long way from what I want to see it. First, there 's 
a deal of bullying going on. I know it well. I don't pry 
about and interfere ; that only makes it more underhand, 
and encourages the small boys to come to us with their 
fingers in their eyes telling tales, and so we should be worse 
off than ever. It 's very little kindness for the sixth to 
meddle generally — you youngsters, mind that. You'll be 
all the better football players for learning to stand it, and 
to take your own parts, and fight it through. But depend 
on it, there 's nothing breaks up a house like bullying. 
Bullies are cowards, and one coward makes many ; so good- 
bye to the School-house match if bullying gets ahead here. 
(Loud applause from the small boys, who look meaningly 
at Flashman and other boys at the tables.) Then there 's 
fuddling about in the public-house, and drinking bad spirits, 
and punch, and such rot-gut stuff. That won't make good 
drop-kicks or chargers, of you, take my word for it. You get 
plenty of good beer here, and that 's enough for you ; and 
drinking isn't fine or manly, whatever some of you may 
think of it. 

' One other thing I must have a word about. A lot of 
you think and say, for I 've heard you, " There 's this new 
Doctor hasn't been here so long as some of us, and he's 
changing all the old customs. Rugby, and the School-house 
especially, are going to the dogs. Stand up for the good 
old ways, and down with the Doctor!" Now I'm as fond 
of old Rugby customs and ways as any of you, and I 've 
been here longer than any of you, and I '11 give you a word 
of advice in time, for I should n't like to see any of you 

[ 139] 


getting sacked. " Down with the doctor " 's easier said than 
done. You '11 find him pretty tight on his perch, I take it, 
and an awkwardish customer to handle in that line. Besides 
now, what customs has he put down ? There was the good 
old custom of taking the linchpins out of the farmers' and 
bagmen's gigs at the fairs, and a cowardly blackguard custom 
it was. We all know what came of it, and no wonder the 
Doctor objected to it. Hut, come now, any of you, name a 
custom that he has put down.' 

'The hounds,' calls out a fifth-form boy, clad in a green 
cutaway with brass buttons and cord trousers, the leader of 
the sporting interest, and reputed a great rider and keen 
hand generally. 

• Well, we had six or seven mangey harriers and beagles 
belonging to the house, I '11 allow, and had had them for 
years, and that the Doctor put them down, liut what good 
ever came of them ? Only rows with all the keepers for 
ten miles round ; and big-side Hare and Hounds is better 
fun ten times over. What else ? ' 

No answer. 

'Well, I won't go on. Think it over for yourselves: 
you '11 find, I believe, that he don't meddle with any one 
that 's worth keeping. And mind now, I say again, look 
out for squalls, if you will go your own way, and that way 
ain't the Doctor's, for it '11 lead to grief. You all know that 
I'm not the fellow to back a master through thick and thin. 
If I saw him stopping football, or cricket, or bathing, or 
sparring, I'd be as ready as any fellow to stand up about 
it. But he don't — he encourages them; didn't you see 
him out to-day for half an hour watching us ? (loud cheers 
for the Doctor) ; and he 's a strong true man, and a wise one 




too, and a public-school man too. (Cheers.) And so let's 
stick to him, and talk no more rot, and drink his health as 



^fc® ; 

M I 

•- A'l^U^?^^™ 



ifei^ "«- P^jt^W^virM 


'■• J- -tS^^S' — 




the head of the house. (Loud cheers.) And now I 've done 
blowing up, and very glad I am to have done. But it 's a 
solemn thing to be thinking of leaving a place which one 
has lived in and loved for eight years ; and if one can 



say a word for the good of the old house at such a time, 
why, it should be said, whether bitter or sweet. If I hadn't 
been proud of the house and you — aye, no one knows how 
proud — I should n't be blowing you up. And now let 's get 
to singing. But before I sit down I must give you a toast to 
be drunk with three-times-three and all the honours. It 's 
a toast which I hope every one of us, wherever he may go 
hereafter, will never fail to drink when he thinks of the 
brave bright days of his boyhood. It 's a toast which should 
bind us all together, and to those who 've gone before, and 
who'll come after us here. It is the dear old School-house 

— the best house of the best school in luigland ! ' 

My dear boys, old and young, you who have belonged, 
or do belong, to other schools and other houses, don't begin 
throwing my poor little book about the room, and abusing 
me and it, and vowing you '11 read no more when you get to 
this point. I allow you 've provocation for it. But, come now 

— would you, any of you, give a fig for a fellow who did n't 
believe in, and stand up for his own house and his own 
school .-* You know you would n't. Then don't object to my 
cracking up the old School-house, Rugby. Haven't I a right 
to do it, when I'm taking all- the trouble of writing this true 
history for all of your benefits .'' If you ain't satisfied, go 
and write the histor\' of your own houses in your own. times, 
and say all you know for your own schools and houses, 
provided it 's true, and I '11 read it without abusing you. 

The last few words hit the audience in their weakest 
place ; they had been not altogether enthusiastic at several 
parts of old Brooke's speech ; but ' the best house of the 
best school in England ' was too much for them all, and car- 
ried even the sporting and drinking interests off their legs 



into rapturous applause, and (it is to be hoped) resolutions 
to lead a new life and remember old Brooke's words ; which, 
however, they did n't altogether do, as will appear hereafter. 

But it required all old Brooke's popularity to carry down 
parts of his speech ; especially that relating to the Doctor. 
For there are no such bigoted holders by established forms 
and customs, be they never so foolish or meaningless, as 
English schoolboys, at least as the schoolboys of our genera- 
tion. We magnified into heroes every boy who had left, 
and looked upon him with awe and reverence, when he 
revisited the place a year or so afterwards, on his way to 
or from Oxford or Cambridge ; and happy was the boy who 
remembered him, and sure of an audience as he expounded 
what he used to do and say, though it were sad enough 
stuff to make angels, not to say head masters, weep. 

We looked upon every trumpery little custom and habit 
which had obtained in the school as though it had been a 
law of the Medes and Persians, and regarded the infringe- 
ment or variation of it as a sort of sacrilege. And the 
Doctor, than whom no man or boy had a stronger liking 
for old school customs which were good and sensible, had, 
as has already been hinted, come into most decided collision 
with several which were neither the one nor the other. And 
as old Brooke had said, when he came into collision with 
boys or customs, there was nothing for them but to give in 
or take themselves off ; because what he said had to be 
done, and no mistake about it. And this was beginning to 
be pretty clearly understood ; the boys felt that there was 
a strong man over them, who would have things his own 
way ; and had n't yet learned that he was a wise and loving 
man also. His personal character and influence had not 



had time to make itself felt, except by a very few of the 
bigger boys with whom he came more directly in contact ; 
and he was looked upon with great fear and dislike by the 
great majority even of his own house. For he had found 
School, and School-house, in a state of monstrous licence 
and misrule, and was still employed in the necessary but 
unpopular work of setting up order with a strong hand. 

However, as has been said, old Brooke triumphed, and 
the boys cheered him, and then the Doctor. And then more 
songs came, and the healths of the other boys about to 
leave, who each made a speech, one flowery, another maudlin, 
a third prosy, and so on, which are not necessary to be 
here recorded. 

Half-past nine struck in the middle of the performance 
of ' Auld Lang Syne,' a most obstreperous proceeding; dur- 
ing which there was an immense amount of standing with 
one foot on the table, knocking mugs together and shaking 
hands, without which accompaniments it seems impossible 
for the youth of Britain to take part in that famous old 
song. The under-porter of the School-house entered during 
the performance, bearing five or six long wooden candle- 
sticks, with lighted dips in them, which he proceeded to 
stick into their holes in such part of the great tables as he 
could get at ; and then stood outside the ring till the end 
of the song, when he was hailed with shouts. 

* Bill, you old muff, the half-hour has n't struck.' 

'Here, Bill, drink some cocktail,' 'Sing us a song, old 
boy,' ' Don't you wish you may get the table ? ' Bill drank 
the proffered cocktail not unwillingly, and putting down the 
empty glass, remonstrated, ' Now, gentlemen, there 's only 
ten minutes to prayers, and we must get the hall straight.' 




Shouts of ' No, no ! ' and a violent effort to strike up 
* Billy Taylor ' for the third time. Bill looked appealingly 
to old Brooke, who got up and stopped the noise. ' Now 
then, lend a hand, you youngsters, and get the tables back, 
clear away the jugs and glasses. Bill 's right. Open the 
windows, Warner.' The boy addressed, who sat by the long 
ropes, proceeded to pull up the great windows, and let in 
a clear fresh rush of night air, which made the candles 
flicker and gutter, and the fires roar. The circle broke. up, 
each collaring his own jug, glass, and song-book ; Bill 
pounced on the big table, and began to rattle it away to 
its place outside the buttery-door, llie lower-passage boys 
carried off their small tables, aided by their friends, while 
above all, standing on the great hall-table, a knot of untiring 
sons of harmony made night doleful by a prolonged per- 
formance of 'God save the King.' His Majesty King 
William IV then reigned over us, a monarch deservedly 
popular amongst the boys addicted to melody, to whom he 
was chiefly known from the beginning of that excellent, if 
slightly \ailgar, song in which they much delighted — 

' Come, neighbours all, both great and small, 

Perform your duties here, 
And loudly sing " live Billy our king," 
For bating the tax upon beer.' 

Others of the more learned in songs also celebrated his 
praises in a sort of ballad, which I take to have been written 
by some Irish loyalist. I have forgotten all but the chorus, 
which ran — 

' God save our good King William, be his name for ever blest. 
He 's the father of all his people, and the guardian of all the rest.' 



In troth we were loyal subjects in those days, in a rough 
way. I trust that our successors make as much of her 
present Majesty, and, having regard to the greater refine- 
ment of the times, have adopted or written other songs 
equally hearty, but more civilized, in her honour. 

Then the quarter to ten struck, and the prayer-bell rang. 
The sixth- and fifth-form boys ranged themselves in their 
school order along the wall, on either side of the great fires, 
the middle-fifth and upper-school boys round the long table 
in the middle of the hall, and the lower-school boys round 
the upper part of the second long table, which ran down the 
side of the hall furthest from the fires. Here Tom found 
himself at the bottom of all, in a state of mind and body 
not at all fit for prayers, as he thought ; and so tried hard 
to make himself serious, but could n't, for the life of him, 
do anything but repeat in his head the choruses of some of 
the songs, and stare at all the boys opposite, wondering at 
the brilliancy of their waistcoats, and speculating what sort 
of fellows they were. .The steps of the head-porter are heard 
on the stairs, and a light gleams at the door. ' Hush ! ' from 
the fifth-form boys who stand there, and then in strides 
the Doctor, cap on head, book in one hand, and gathering 
up his gown in the other. He walks up the middle, and 
takes his post by Warner, who begins calling over the 
names. The Doctor takes no notice of anything, but quietly 
turns over his book and finds the place, and then stands, 
cap in hand and finger in book, looking straight before his 
nose. He knows better than any one when to look, and 
when to see nothing ; to-night is singing night, and there 's 
been lots of noise and no harm done ; nothing but beer 
drunk, and nobody the worse for it ; though some of them 



do look hot and excited. So the Doctor sees nothing, but 
fascinates Tom in a horrible manner as he stands there, and 
reads out the Psalm in that deep, ringing, searching voice 
of his. Prayers are over, and Tom still stares open-mouthed 
after the Doctor's retiring figure, when he feels a pull at 
his sleeve, and turning round, sees East. 

' I say, were you ever tossed in a blanket .'' ' 

' No,' said Tom ; ' why ? ' 

' 'Cause there '11 be tossing to-night, most likely, before 
the sixth come up to bed. So if you funk, you just come 
along and hide, or else they '11 catch you and toss you.' 

' Were you ever tossed ? Does it hurt ? ' inquired Tom. 

* Oh yes, bless you, a dozen times,' said East, as he 
hobbled along by Tom's side upstairs. ' It don't hurt unless 
you fall on the floor. But most fellows don't like it.' 

They stopped at the fireplace in the top passage, where 
were a crowd of small boys whispering together, and evi- 
dently unwilling to go up into the bedrooms. In a minute, 
however, a study door opened, and a sixth-form boy came 
out, and off they all scuttled up the stairs, and then noise- 
lessly dispersed to their different rooms. Tom's heart beat 
rather quick as he and East reached their room, but he had 
made up his mind. ' I shan't hide. East,' said he. 

'Very well, old fellow,' replied East, evidently pleased, 
'no more shall I — they'll be here for us directly.' 

The room was a great big one with a dozen beds in it, 
but not a boy that Tom could see, except East and himself. 
East pulled off his coat and waistcoat, and then sat on the 
bottom of his bed, whistling, and pulling off his boots ; 
Tom followed his example. 

A noise and steps are ' heard in the passage, the door 



opens, and in rush four or five great fifth-form boys, headed 
by Flashman in his glory. 

Tom and East slept in the further corner of the room, 
and were not seen at first. 

' Gone to ground, eh ? ' roared Flashman ; ' push 'em out 
then, boys ; look under the beds ' ; and he pulled up the 
little white curtain of the one nearest him. ' Who-o-op,' he 
roared, pulling away at the leg of a small boy, who held on 
tight to the leg of the bed, and sung out lustily for mercy. 

* Here, lend a hand, one of you, and help me pull out 
this young howling brute. Hold your tongue, sir, or I '11 
kill you.' 

' Oh, please, Flashman, please, Walker, don't toss me ! 
I '11 fag for you, I '11 do anything, only don't toss me.' 

'You be hanged,' said Flashman, lugging the wretched 

boy along, ' 't won't hurt you, you ! Come along, boys, 

here he is.' 

'I say, Flashey,' sung out another of the big boys, 'drop 
that ; you heard what old Pater Brooke said to-night. I '11 
be hanged if we '11 toss any one against their will — no 
more bullying. Let him go, I say.' 

Flashman, with an oath and a kick, released his prey, 
who rushed headlong under his bed again, for fear they 
should change their minds, and crept along underneath 
the other beds, till he got under that of the sixth-form boy, 
which he knew they daren't disturb. 

'There's plenty of youngsters don't care about it,' said 
Walker. ' Here, here 's Scud East — you '11 be tossed, won't 
you, young un .? ' Scud was East's nickname, or Black, as 
we called it, gained by his fleetness of foot. 

'Yes,' said East, 'if you like, only mind my foot.' 



'And here's another who didn't hide. Hullo! new boy; 
what 's your name, sir ? ' 

' Brown.' 

' Well, Whitey Brown, you don't mind being tossed ? ' 

' No,' said Tom, setting his teeth. 

* Come along then, boys,' sung out Walker, and away 
they all went, carrying along Tom and East, to the intense 
relief of four or five other small boys, who crept out from 
under the beds and behind them. 

' What a trump Scud is ! ' said one. ' They won't come 
back here now.' 

' And that new boy, too ; he must be a good plucked one.' 

' Ah ! wait till he has been tossed on to the floor ; see 
how he '11 like it then ! ' 

Meantime the procession went down the passage to 
Number 7, the largest room, and the scene of tossing, in 
the middle of which was a great open space. Here they 
joined other parties of the bigger boys, each with a captive 
or two, some willing to be tossed, some sullen, and some 
frightened to death. At Walker's suggestion all who were 
afraid were let off, in honour of Pater Brooke's speech. 

Then a dozen big boys seized hold of a blanket dragged 
from one of the beds. ' In with Scud, quick, there 's no 
time to lose.' East was chucked into the blanket. ' Once, 
twice, thrice, and away ' ; up he went like a shuttlecock, 
but not quite up to the ceiling. 

'Now, boys, with a will,' cried W^alker, 'once, twice, 
thrice, and away ! ' This time he went clean up, and kept 
himself from touching the ceiling with his hand, and so 
again a third time, when he was turned out, and up went 
another boy. And then came Tom's turn. He lay quite 




still, by East's advice, and didn't dislike the 'once, twice, 
thrice ' ; but the ' away ' was n't so pleasant. They were in 
good wind now, and sent him slap up to the ceiling first 

j6 i& <ip~~& G ((s' 


time, against which his knees came rather sharply. But the 
moment's pause before descending was the rub, the feeling 
of utter helplessness and of leaving his whole inside behind 
him sticking to the ceiling. Tom was very near shouting 



to be set down, when he found himself back in the blanket, 
but thought of East, and did n't ; and so took his three 
tosses without a kick or a cry, and was called a young trump 
for his pains. 

He and East, having earned it, stood now looking on. 
No catastrophe happened, as all the captives were cool 
hands, and didn't struggle. This didn't suit Flashman, 
What your real bully likes in tossing is when the boys kick 
and struggle, or hold on to one side of the blanket, and so 
get pitched bodily on to the floor ; it 's no fun to him when 
no one is hurt or frightened. 

' Let's toss two of them together, Walker,' suggested he. 

* What a cursed bully you are, Flashey ! ' rejoined the 
other. ' Up with another one.' 

And so no two boys were tossed together, the peculiar 
hardship of which is, that it 's too much for human nature 
to lie still then and share troubles ; and so the wretched 
pair of small boys struggle in the air which shall fall a-top 
in the descent, to the no small risk of both falling out of 
the blanket, and the huge delight of brutes like Flashman. 

But now there 's a cry that the praepostor of the room 
is coming ; so the tossing stops, and all scatter to their 
different rooms ; and Tom is left to turn in, with the first 
day's experience of a public school to meditate upon. 


S^Mwig to lSh Coiar 

Says Giles, " ^T is mortal hard to go. 

But if so be'' s I must : 
I means to follow arter he 

As goes his self the fust.'"'' ' 


"VERYBODY, I suppose, knows the 
dreamy delicious state in which one Hes, 
half asleep, half awake, while conscious- 
ness begins to return, after a sound night's 
rest in a new place which we are glad to 
be in, following upon a day of unwonted 
excitement and exertion. There are few pleasanter pieces 
of life. The worst of it is that they last such a short time ; 
for, nurse them as you will, by lying perfectly passive in 
mind and body, you can't make more than five minutes or 
so of them. After which time, the stupid, obtrusive, wakeful 
entity which we call 'I,' as impatient as he is stiff-necked, 
spite of our teeth will force himself back again, and take 
possession of us down to our very toes. 



It . was in this state that Master Tom lay at half-past 
seven on the morning following the day of his arrival, and 
from his clean little white bed watched the movements of 
Bogle (the generic name by which the successive shoeblacks 
of the School-house were known), as he marched round 
from bed to bed, collecting the dirty shoes and boots, and 
depositing clean ones in their places. 

There he lay, half-doubtful as to w^here exactly in the 
universe he was, but conscious that he had made a step in 
life which he had been anxious to make. It was only just 
light as he looked lazily out of the wide windows, and saw 
the tops of the great elms, and the rooks circling about, 
and cawing remonstrances to the lazy ones of their com- 
monwealth, before starting in a body for the neighbouring 
ploughed fields. The noise of the room-door closing behind 
Bogle, as he made his exit with the shoe-basket under his 
arm, roused him thoroughly, and he sat up in bed and 
looked round the room. What in the world could be the 
matter with his shoulders and loins .'' He felt as if he had 
been severely beaten all down his back, the natural results 
of his performance at his first match. He drew up his 
knees and rested his chin on them, and went over all the 
events of yesterday, rejoicing in his new life, what he had 
seen of it, and all that was to come. 

Presently one or two of the other boys roused them- 
selves, and began to sit up and talk to one another in 
low tones. Then East, after a roll or two, came to an 
anchor also, and, nodding to Tom, began examining his 

' What a pull,' said he, ' that it 's lie-in-bed, for I shall 
be as lame as a tree, I think.' 



It was Sunday morning, and Sunday lectures had not 
yet been established ; so that nothing but breakfast inter- 
vened between bed and eleven o'clock chapel — a gap by 
no means easy to fill up : in fact, though received with the 
correct amount of grumbling, the first lecture instituted 
by the Doctor shortly afterwards was a great boon to the 
School. It was lie-in-bed, and no one was in a hurry to get 
up, especially in rooms where, the sixth-form boy was a 
good-tempered fellow, as was the case in Tom's room, and 
allowed the small boys to talk and laugh, and do pretty 
much what they pleased, so long as they did n't disturb 
him. His bed was a bigger one than the rest, standing in 
the corner by the fire-place, with washing-stand and large 
basin by the side, where he lay in state, with his white cur- 
tains tucked in so as to form a retiring place : an awful 
subject of contemplation to Tom, who slept nearly opposite, 
and watched the great man rouse himself and take a book 
from under his pillow, and begin reading, leaning his head 
on his hand, and turning his back to the room. Soon, 
however, a noise of striving urchins arose, and muttered 
encouragements from the neighbouring boys of — ' Go it, 
Tadpole ! ' * Now, young Green ! ' ' Haul away his blanket ! ' 
* Slipper him on the hands ! ' Young Green and little Hall, 
commonly called Tadpole, from his great black head and 
thin legs, slept side by side far away by the door, and were 
for ever playing one another tricks, which usually ended, as 
on this morning, in open and violent collision : and now, 
unmindful of all order and authority, there they were, each 
hauling away at the other's bedclothes with one hand, and 
with the other, armed with a slipper, belabouring whatever 
portion of the body of his adversary came within reach. 



'Hold that noise, up in the corner,' called out the prae- 
postor, sitting up and looking round his curtains ; and the 
Tadpole and young Green sank down into their disordered 
beds, and then, looking at his watch, added, ' Hullo, past 
eight ! — whose turn 
for hot water ? ' 

(Where the prae- 
postor was particular 
in his ablutions the 
fags in his room had 
to descend in turn to 
the kitchen, and beg 
or steal hot water for 
him ; and often the 
custom extended fur- 
ther, and two boys 
went down every 
morning to get a 
supply for the whole 

' East's and Tad- 
pole's,' answered the 
senior fag, who kept 
the rota. 

' I can't go,' said 
East; 'I'm dead lame.' 

'Well, be quick, some of you, that's all,' said the great 
man, as he turned out of bed, and putting on his slippers, 
went out into the great passage which runs the whole 
length of the bedrooms, to get his Sunday habiliments out 
of his portmanteau. 






'Let me go for you,' said Tom to East, 'I should 
like it.' 

' Well, thank 'ee, that 's a good fellow. Just pull on your 
trousers, and take your jug and mine. Tadpole will show 
you the way.' 

And so Tom and the Tadpole, in nightshirts and trousers, 
started off downstairs, and through ' Thos's hole,' as the 
little buttery, where candles and beer and bread and cheese 
were served out at night, was called ; across the School- 
house court, down a long passage, and into the kitchen ; 
where, after some parley with the stalwart, handsome cook, 
who declared that she had filled a dozen jugs already, they 
got their hot water, and returned with all speed and great 
caution. As it was, they narrowly escaped capture by some 
privateers from the fifth-form rooms, who were on the look- 
out for the hot-water convoys, and pursued them up to the 
very door of their room, making them spill half their load 
in the passage. 'Better than going down again tho',' as 
Tadpole remarked, ' as we should have had to do if those 
beggars had caught us.' 

By the time that the calling-over bell rang, Tom and his 
new comrades were all down, dressed in their best clothes, 
and he had the satisfaction of answering ' here ' to his 
name for the first time, the praepostor of the week having 
put it in at the bottom of his list. And then came break- 
fast, and a saunter about the close and town with East, 
whose lameness only became severe when any fagging 
had to be done. And so they whiled away the time until 
morning chapel. 

It was a fine November morning, and the close soon 
became alive with boys of all ages, who sauntered about on 




the grass, or walked round the gravel walk, in parties of 
two or three. East, still doing the cicerone, pointed out all 
the remarkable characters to Tom as they passed : Osbert, 
who could throw a cricket-ball from the little-side ground 
over the rook trees to the Doctor's wall ; Gray, who had 
got the Balliol scholarship, and, what East evidently thought 
of much more importance, a half-holiday for the School by 
his success ; Thorne, who had run ten miles in two minutes 
over the hour ; Black, who had held his own against the 
cock of the town in the last row with the louts ; and many 
more heroes, who then and there walked about and were 
worshipped, all trace of whom has long since vanished 
from the scene of their fame ; and the fourth-form boy 
who reads their names rudely cut out on the old hall tables, 
or painted upon the big side-cupboard (if hall tables and 
big side-cupboards still exist), wonders what manner of boys 
they were. It will be the same with you who wonder, my 
sons, whatever your prowess may be, in cricket, or scholar- 
ship, or football. Two or three years, more or less, and then 
the steadily advancing, blessed wave will pass over your 
names as it has passed over ours. Nevertheless, play your 
games and do your work manfully — see only that that be 
done, and let the remembrance of it take care of itself. 

The chapel-bell began to ring at a quarter to eleven, 
and Tom got in early and took his place in the lowest row, 
and watched all the other boys come in and take their 
places, filling row after row ; and tried to construe the 
Greek text which was inscribed over the door with the 
slightest possible success, and wondered which of the mas- 
ters, who walked down the chapel and took their seats in 
the exalted boxes at the end, would be his lord. And then 



came the closing of the doors, and the Doctor in his robes 
and the service, which, however, did n't impress him much, 
for his feehng of wonder and curiosity was too strong. 
And the boy on one side of him was scratching his name on 
the oak panelling in front, and he couldn't help watching 






to see what the name was, and whether it was well 
scratched : and the boy on the other side went to sleep 
and kept falling against him ; and on the whole, though 
many boys even in that part of the School were serious 
and attentive, the general atmosphere was by no means 
devotional ; and when he got out into the close again he 
did n't feel at all comfortable, or as if he had been to church. 


But at afternoon chapel it was quite another thing. He 
had spent the time after dinner in writing home to his 
mother, and so was in a better frame of mind ; and his 
first curiosity was over, and he could attend more to the 
service. As the hymn after the prayers was being sung, 
and the chapel was getting a little dark, he was beginning 
to feel that he had been really worshipping. And then 
came that great event in his, as in every Rugby boy's life 
of that day — the first sermon from the Doctor. 

More worthy pens than mine have described that scene. 
The oak pulpit standing out by itself above the School 
seats. The tall gallant form, the kindling eye, the voice, 
now soft as the low notes of a flute, now clear and stirring 
as the call of the light infantry bugle, of him who stood 
there Sunday after Sunday, witnessing and pleading for his 
Lord, the King of righteousness and love and glory, with 
whose spirit he was filled, and in whose power he spoke. 
The long lines of young faces, rising tier above tier down 
the whole length of the chapel, from the little bo/s who 
had just left his mother to the young man's who was going 
out next week into the great world rejoicing in his strength. 
It was a great and solemn sight, and never more so than 
at this time of year, when the only lights in the chapel 
were in the pulpit and at the seats of the praepostors of 
the w'eek, and the soft twilight stole over the rest of the 
chapel, deepening into darkness in the high gallery behind 
the organ. 

But what was it after all which seized and held these 
three hundred boys, dragging them out of themselves, will- 
ing or unwilling, for twenty minutes, on Sunday afternoons ? 
True, there always were boys scattered up and down the 



School, who in heart and head were worthy to hear and 
able to carry away the deepest and wisest words there 
spoken. But these were a minority always, generally a very 
small one, often so small a one as to be countable on the 
fingers of your hand. What was it that moved and held 
us, the rest of the three hundred reckless, childish boys, 
who feared the Doctor with all our hearts, and very little 
besides in heaven or earth : who thought mere of our sets 
in the School than of the Church of Christ, and put the 
traditions of Rugby and the public opinion of boys in our 
daily life above the laws of God ? We could n't enter into 
half that we heard ; we had n't the knowledge of our own 
hearts or the knowledge of one another ; and little enough 
of the faith, hope, and love needed to that end. But we 
listened, as all boys in their better moods will listen (aye, 
and men too for the matter of that), to a man whom we 
felt to be, with all his heart and soul and strength, striving 
against whatever was mean and unmanly and unrighteous 
in our little world. It was not the cold clear voice of one 
giving advice and warning from serene heights to those 
who were struggling and sinning below, but the warm living 
voice of one who was fighting for us and by our sides, and 
calling on us to help him and ourselves and one another. 
And so, wearily and little by little, but surely and steadily 
on the whole, was brought home to the young boy, for the 
first time, the meaning of his life : that it was no fool's or 
sluggard's paradise into which he had wandered by chance, 
but a battle-field ordained from of old, where there are no 
spectators, but the youngest must take his side, and the 
stakes are life and death. And he who roused this con- 
sciousness in them, showed them at the same time, by every 



word he spoke in the pulpit, and by his whole daily life, 
how that battle was to be fought ; and stood there before 
them their fellow-soldier and the captain of their band. 
The true sort of captain, too, for a boys' army, one who 
had no misgivings, and gave no uncertain word of com- 
mand, and, let who would yield or make truce, would fight 
the fight out {so every boy felt) to the last gasp and the 
last drop of blood. Other sides of his character might take 
hold of and influence boys here and there, but it was this 
thoroughness and undaunted courage which more than any- 
thing else won his way to the hearts of the great mass of 
those on whom he left his mark, and made them believe 
first in him, and then in his Master, 

It was this quality above all others which moved such 
boys as our hero, who had nothing whatever remarkable 
about him except excess of boyishness ; by which I mean 
animal life in its fullest measure, good nature and honest 
impulses, hatred of injustice and meanness, and thoughtless- 
ness enough to sink a three-decker. And so, during the 
next two years, in which it was more than doubtful whether 
he would get good or evil from the School, and before any 
steady purpose or principle grew up in him, whatever his 
week's sins and shortcomings might have been, he hardly 
ever left the chapel on Sunday evenings without a serious 
resolve to stand by and follow the Doctor, and a feeling 
that it was only cowardice (the incarnation of all other sins 
in such a boy's mind) which hindered him from doing so 
with all his heart. 

The next day Tom was duly placed in the third form, 
and began his lessons in a corner of the big School, He 
found the work very easy, as he had been well grounded 



and knew his grammar by heart ; and, as he had no inti- 
mate companion to make him idle (East and his other 
School-house friends being in the lower-fourth, the form 
above him), soon gained golden opinions from his master, 
who said he was placed too low, and should be put out at 
the end of the half-year. So all went well with him in 
school, and he wrote the most flourishing letters home to 
his mother, full of his own success, and the unspeakable 
delights of a public school. 

In the house, too, all went well. The end of the half- 
year was drawing near, which kept everybody in a good 
humour, and the house was ruled well and strongly by 
Warner and Brooke. True, the general system was rough 
and hard, and there was bullying in nooks and corners, 
bad signs for the future ; but it never got further, or dared 
show itself openly, stalking about the passages and hall 
and bedrooms, and making the life of the small boys a 
continual fear. 

Tom, as a new boy, was of right excused fagging for 
the first month, but in his enthusiasm for his new life this 
privilege hardly pleased him ; and East and others of his 
young friends discovering this, kindly allowed him to in- 
dulge his fancy, and take their turns at night fagging and 
cleaning studies. These were the principal duties of the 
fags in the house. From supper until nine o'clock, three 
fags taken in order stood in the passages, and answered 
any praepostor who called ' Fag,' racing to the door, the 
last comer having to do the work. This consisted generally 
of going to the buttery for beer and bread and cheese 
(for the great men did not sup with the rest, but had each 
his own allowance in his study or the fifth-form room), 



cleaning candlesticks and putting in new candles, toasting 
cheese, bottling beer, and carrying messages about the 
house ; and Tom, in the first blush of his hero-worship, 
felt it a high privilege to receive orders from, and be the 
bearer of the supper of old Brooke. And besides this 
night-work, each praepostor had three or four fags specially 
allotted to him, of whom he was supposed to be the guide, 
philosopher, and friend, and who in return for these good 
offices had to clean out his study every morning by turns, 
directly after first lesson and before he returned from 
breakfast. And the pleasure of seeing the great men's 
studies, and looking at their pictures, and peeping into 
their books, made Tom a ready substitute for any boy who 
was too lazy to do his own work. And so he soon gained 
the character of a good-natured willing fellow, who was 
ready to do a turn for any one. 

In all the games too he joined with all his heart, and 
soon became well versed in all the mysteries of football, 
by continued practice at the School-house little-side, which 
played daily. 

The only incident worth recording here, however, was 
his first run at Hare-and-hounds. On the last Tuesday but 
one of the half-year, he was passing through the hall after 
dinner, when he was hailed with shouts from Tadpole and 
several other fags seated at one of the long tables, the 
chorus of which was, ' Come and help us tear up scent.' 

Tom approached the table in obedience to the mysteri- 
ous summons, always ready to help, and found the party 
engaged in tearing up old newspapers, copy-books, and 
magazines, into small pieces, with which they were filling 
four large canvas bags. 




* It 's the turn of our house to find scent for big-side 
Hare-and-hounds,' exclaimed Tadpole ; ' tear away, there 's 
no time to lose before calling-over.' 

'I think it's a great shame,' said another small boy, 'to 
have such a hard run for the last day.' 

' Which run is it ? ' said Tadpole. 

'Oh, the Barby run, I hear,' answered the other; 'nine 
miles at least, and hard ground ; no chance of getting in 
at the finish, unless you 're a first-rate scud.' 

'Well, I'm going to have a try,' said Tadpole; 'it's the 
last run of the half, and if a fellow gets in at the end, big- 
side stands ale and bread and cheese, and a bowl of punch ; 
and the Cock 's such a famous place for ale.' 

' I should like to try too,' said Tom. 

'Well, then, leave your waistcoat behind, and listen at 
the door, after calling-over, and you '11 hear where the 
meet is.' 

After calling-over, sure enough, there were two boys at 
the door, calling out, ' Big-side Hare-and-hounds meet at 
White Hall ' ; and Tom, having girded himself with leather 
strap, and left all superfluous clothing behind, set off for 
White Hall, an old gable-ended house some quarter of a 
mile from the town, with East, whom he had persuaded to 
join, notwithstanding his prophecy that they could never 
get in, as it was the hardest run of the year. 

At the meet they found some forty or fifty boys, and 
Tom felt sure, from having seen many of them run at foot- 
ball, that he and East were more likely to get in than they. 

After a few minutes' waiting, two well-known runners, 
chosen for the hares, buckled on the four bags filled with 
scent, compared their watches with those of young Brooke 



and Thorne, and started off at a long slinging trot across 
the fields in the direction of Barby, 

Then the hounds clustered round Thorne, who explained 
shortly, ' They 're to have six minutes' law. We run into 
the Cock, and every one who comes in within a quarter of 
an hour of the hares '11 be counted, if he has been round 
Barby church.' Then came a minute's pause or so, and 
then the watches are pocketed, and the pack is led through 
the gateway into the field which the hares had first crossed. 
Here they break into a trot, scattering over the field to find 
the first traces of the scent which the hares throw out as 
they go along. The old hounds make straight for the likely 
points, and in a minute a cry of ' forward ' comes from one 
of them, and the whole pack, quickening their pace, make 
for the spot, while the boy who hit the scent first, and the 
two or three nearest to him, are over the first fence, and mak- 
ing play along the hedgerow in the long grass-field beyond. 
The rest of the pack rush at the gap already made, and 
scramble through. Jostling one another. ' Forward ' again, 
before they are half through ; the pace quickens into a sharp 
run, the tail hounds all straining to get up with the lucky 
leaders. They are gallant hares, and the scent lies thick 
right across another meadow and into a ploughed field, where 
the pace begins to tell ; tlien over a good wattle with a ditch 
on the other side, and down a large pasture studded with 
old thorns, which slopes down to the first brook ; the great 
Leicestershire sheep charge away across the field as the 
pack comes racing down the slope. The brook is a small 
one, and the scent lies right ahead up the opposite slope, 
and as thick as ever ; not a turn or a check to favour 
the tail hounds, who strain on, now trailing in a long line, 



many a youngster beginning to drag his legs heavily, and 
feel his heart beat like a hammer, and the bad-plucked ones 
thinking that after all it is n't worth while to keep it up, 

Tom, East, and the Tadpole had a good start, and are 
well up for such young hands, and after rising the slope 
and crossing the next field, find themselves up with the 
leading hounds, who have overrun the scent and are trying 
back ; they have come a mile and a half in about eleven 
minutes, a pace which shows that it is the last day. About 
twenty-five of the original starters only show here, the rest 
having already given in ; the leaders are busy making casts 
into the fields on the left and right, and the others get their 
second winds. 

Then comes the cr)' of ' forward ' again, from young 
Brooke, from the extreme left, and the pack settles down 
to work again steadily and doggedly, the whole keeping 
pretty well together. The scent, though still good, is not 
so thick ; there is no need of that, for in this part of the 
run every one knows the line which must be taken, and so 
there are no casts to be made, but good downright running 
and fencing to be done. All who are now up mean coming 
in, and they come to the foot of Barby Hill without losing 
more than two or three more of the pack. This last straight 
two miles and a half is always a vantage ground for the 
hounds, and the hares know it well ; they are generally 
viewed on the side of Barby Hill, and all eyes are on the 
look-out for them to-day. But not a sign of them appears, 
so now will be the hard work for the hounds, and there is 
nothing for it but to cast about for the scent, for it is now 
the hares' turn, and they may baffle the pack dreadfully in 
the next two miles. 




111 fares it now with our youngsters that they are School- 
house boys, and so follow young Brooke, for he takes the 
wide casts round to the left, conscious of his own powers, 
and loving the hard work. For if you would consider for a 



moment, }'0U small boys, you would remember that the Cock, 
where the run ends, and the good ale will be going, lies 
far out to the right on the Dunchurch road, so that every 
cast you take to the left is so much extra work. And at 
this stage of the run, when the evening is closing in already, 
no one remarks whether you run a little cunning or not, so 
you should stick to those crafty hounds who keep edging 
away to the right, and not follow a prodigal like young 
Brooke, whose legs are twice as long as yours and of cast- 
iron, wholly indifferent to two or three miles more or less.. 
However, they struggle after him, sobbing and plunging 
along, Tom and East pretty close, and Tadpole, whose big 
head begins to pull him down, some thirty yards behind. 

Now comes a brook, with stiff clay banks, from which 
they can hardly drag their legs, and they hear faint cries for 
help from the wretched Tadpole, who has fairly stuck fast. 
But they have too little run left in themselves to pull up 
for their own brothers. Three fields more, and another 
check, and then ' forward ' called away to the extreme right. 

The two boys' souls die within them ; they can never 
do it. Young Brooke thinks so too, and says kindly, ' You '11 
cross a lane after next field, keep down it, and you '11 hit 
the Dunchurch road below the Cock,' and then steams 
away for the run in, in which he 's sure to be first, as if he 
were just starting. They struggle on across the next field, 
the ' forwards ' getting fainter and fainter, and then ceasing. 
The whole hunt is out of earshot, and all hope of coming 
in is over. 

* Hang it all ! ' broke out East, as soon as he had got 
wind enough, pulling off his hat and mopping at his face, 
all spattered with dirt and lined with sweat, from which went 



up a thick steam into the still cold air. ' I told you how it 
would be. What a thick I was to come ! Here we are, 
dead-beat, and yet I know we 're close to the run in, if 
we knew the country.' 

'Well,' said Tom, mopping away, and gulping down his 
disappointment, ' it can't be helped. We did our best, 
anyhow. Had n't we better find this lane, and go down 
it as young Brooke told us ? ' 

'I suppose so — nothing else for it,' grunted East. 'If 
ever I go out last day again,' growl — growl — growl. 

So they tried back slowly and sorrowfully, and found 
the lane, and went limping down it, plashing in the cold 
puddly ruts, and beginning to feel how the run had taken 
it out of them. The evening closed in fast, and clouded 
over, dark, cold, and dreary. 

'I say, it must be locking-up, I should think,' remarked 
East, breaking the silence ; ' it 's so dark.' 

' What if we 're late .-' ' said Tom. 

'No tea, and sent up to the Doctor,' answered East. 

The thought did n't add to their cheerfulness. Presently 
a faint halloo was heard from an adjoining field. They 
answered it and stopped, hoping for some competent rustic 
to guide them, when over a gate some twenty yards ahead 
crawled the wretched Tadpole, in a state of collapse ; he 
had lost a shoe in the brook, and been groping after it up 
to his elbows in the stiff wet clay, and a more miserable 
creature in the shape of boy seldom has been seen. 

The sight of him, notwithstanding, cheered them, for 
he was some degrees more wretched than they. They also 
cheered him, as he was now no longer under the dread of 
passing his night alone in the fields. And so, in better 



heart, the three plashed painfully down the never-ending 
lane. At last it widened, just as utter darkness set in, and 
they came out on to a turnpike-road, and there paused 
bewildered, for they had lost all bearings, and knew not 
whether to turn to the right or left. 

Luckily for them they had not to decide, for lumbering 
along the road, with one lamp lighted, and two spavined 
horses in the shafts, came a heavy coach, which after a 
moment's suspense they recognized as the Oxford coach, 
the redoubtable Pig and Whistle. 

It lumbered slowly up, and the boys mustering their last 
run, caught it as it passed, and began scrambling up behind, 
in which exploit East missed his footing and fell flat on his 
nose along the road. Then the others hailed the old scare- 
crow of a coachman, who pulled up and agreed to take 
them in for a shilling ; so there they sat on the back seat, 
drubbing with their heels, and their teeth chattering with cold, 
and jogged into Rugby some forty minutes after locking-up. 

Five minutes afterwards, three small limping shivering 
figures steal along through the Doctor's garden, and into 
the house by the servants' entrance (all the other gates 
have been closed long since), where the first thing they 
light upon in the passage is old Thomas, ambling along, 
candle in one hand and keys in the other. 

He stops and examines their condition with a grim 
smile. ' Ah ! East, Hall, and Brown, late for locking-up. 
Must go up to the Doctor's study at once.' 

' Well but, Thomas, may n't we go and wash first .-' You 
can put down the time, you know.' 

' Doctor's study d'rectly you come in — that 's the orders,' 
replied old Thomas, motioning towards the stairs at the end 




of the passage which led up into the Doctor's house ; and 
the boys turned ruefully down it, not cheered by the old 
verger's muttered remark, ' What a pickle they boys be in ! ' 
Thomas referred to their faces and habiliments, but they 
construed it as indicating the Doctor's state of mind. Upon 
the short flight of stairs they paused to hold counsel. 

' Who '11 go in first ? ' inquires Tadpole. 

'You — you're the senior,' answered East. 

'Catch me — look at the state I'm in,' rejoined Hall, 
showing the arms of his jacket. ' I must get behind you two.' 

'Well, but look at me,' said East, indicating the mass of 
clay behind which he was standing; 'I'm worse than you, 
two to one ; you might grow cabbages on my trousers.' 

' That 's all down below, and you can keep your legs 
behind the sofa,' said Hall. 

'Here, Brown, you're the show-figure — you must lead.' 

'But my face is all muddy,' argued Tom. 

' Oh, we 're all in one boat for that matter ; but come 
on, we 're only making it worse, dawdling here.' 

'Well, just give us a brush then,' said Tom; and they 
began trying to rub off the superfluous dirt from each other's 
jackets, but it was not dry enough, and the rubbing made 
it worse ; so in despair they pushed through the swing 
door at the head of the stairs, and found themselves in 
the Doctor's hall. 

'That 's the library door,' said East in a whisper, pushing 
Tom forwards. The sound of merry voices and laughter 
came from within, and his first hesitating knock was 
unanswered. But at the second, the Doctor's voice said 
' Come in,' and Tom turned the handle, and he, with the 
others behind him, sidled into the room. 



The Doctor looked up from his task ; he was working 
away with a great chisel at the bottom of a boy's sailing- 
boat, the lines of which he was no doubt fashioning on 
the model of one of Nicias' galleys. Round him stood 
three or four children ; the candles burnt brightly on a 
large table at the further end, covered with books and 
papers, and a great fire threw a ruddy glow over the 
rest of the room. All looked so kindly, and homely, 
and comfortable, that the boys took heart in a moment, 
and Tom advanced from behind the shelter of the great 
sofa. The Doctor nodded to the children, who went out, 
casting curious and amused glances at the three young 

'Well, my little fellows,' began the Doctor, drawing him- 
self up with his back to the fire, the chisel in one hand 
and his coat-tails in the other, and his eyes twinkling as he 
looked them over ; ' what makes you so late ? ' 

' Please, sir, we 've been out big-side Hare-and-hounds, 
and lost our way.' 

' Hah ! you could n't keep up, I suppose ? ' 

'Well, sir,' said East, stepping out, and not liking that 
the Doctor should think lightly of his running powers, 
'we got round Barby all right, but then — ' 

' Why, what a state you 're in, my boy ! ' interrupted the 
Doctor, as the pitiful condition of Eiast's garments was 
fully revealed to him. 

'That's the fall I got, sir, in the road,' said East, look- 
ing down at himself. ' The Old Pig came by — ' 

' The what ? ' said the Doctor. 

'The Oxford coach, sir,' explained Hall. 

' Hah ! yes, the Regulator,' said the Doctor. 



'And I tumbled on my face, trying to get up behind,' 
went on East. 

' You 're not hurt I hope ? ' said the Doctor. 

* Oh no, sir.' 

'Well now, run upstairs, all three of you, and get clean 
things on, and then tell the housekeeper to give you some 
tea. You 're too young to try such long runs. Let Warner 
know I 've seen you. Good-night.' 

* Good-night, sir.' And away scuttled the three boys in 
high glee. 

* What a brick, not to give us even twenty lines to learn ! ' 
said the Tadpole, as they reached their bedroom ; and in 
half an hour afterwards they were sitting by the fire in the 
housekeeper's room at a sumptuous tea, with cold meat, 
' twice as good a grub as we should have got in the hall,' 
as the Tadpole remarked with a grin, his mouth full of 
buttered toast. All their grievances were forgotten, and 
they were resolving to go out the first big-side next half, 
and thinking Hare-and-hounds the most delightful of games. 

A day or two afterwards the great passage outside the 
bedrooms was cleared of the boxes and portmanteaus, which 
went down to be packed by the matron, and great games 
of chariot-racing, and cock-fighting, and bolstering, went on 
in the vacant space, the sure sign of a closing half-year. 

Then came the making up of parties for the journey 
home, and Tom joined a party who were to hire a coach, 
and post with four horses to Oxford. 

Then the last Saturday on which the Doctor came round 
to each form to give out the prizes, and hear the masters' 
last reports of how they and their charges had been con- 
ducting themselves ; and Tom, to his huge delight, was 





praised, and got his remove into the lower-fourth, in which 
all his School-house friends were. 

On the next Tuesday morning, at four o'clock, hot coffee 
was going on in the housekeeper's and matron's rooms ; 
boys wrapped in great coats and mufflers were swallowing 
hasty mouthfuls, rushing about, tumbling over luggage, and 
asking questions all at once of the matron ; outside the 
School gates were drawn up several chaises and the four- 
horse coach which Tom's party had chartered, the postboys 
in their best jackets and breeches, and a cornopean player, 
hired for the occasion, blowing away * A southerly wind 
and a cloudy sky,' waking all peaceful inhabitants half-way 
down the High Street. 

Every minute the bustle and hubbub increased, porters 
staggered about with boxes and bags, the cornopean played 
louder. Old Thomas sat in his den with a great yellow bag 
by his side, out of which he was paying journey-money to 
each boy, comparing by the light of a solitary dip the dirty 
crabbed little list in his own handwriting, with the Doctor's 
list, and the amount of his cash ; his head was on one side, 
his mouth screwed up, and his spectacles dim from early 
toil. He had prudently locked the door, and carried on 
his operations solely through the window, or he would have 
been driven wild, and lost all his rrioney. 

' Thomas, do be quick, we shall never catch the High- 
flyer at Dunchurch.' 

' That 's your money, all right, Green.' 

' Hullo, Thomas, the Doctor said I was to have two- 
pound-ten ; you 've only given me two pound.' — I fear that 
Master Green is not confining himself strictly to truth. — 
Thomas turns his head more on one side than ever, and 




■w-jr^^ — • ^ 

Mi i It I 

6 6' 



spells away at the dirty list. Green is forced away from 
the window. 

' Here, Thomas, never mind him, mine 's thirty shillings.' 
'And mine too,' 'And mine,' shouted others. 

One way or another, the party to which Tom belonged 
all got packed and paid, and sallied out to the gates, the 
cornopean playing frantically 'Drops of Brandy,' in allusion, 
probably, to the slight potations in which the musician and 



postboys had been already indulging. All luggage was care- 
fully stowed away inside the coach and in the front and 
hind boots, so that not a hat-box was visible outside. Five 
or six small boys, with pea-shooters, and the cornopean 
player, got up behind ; in front the big boys, mostly smok- 
ing, not for pleasure, but because they are now gentlemen 
at large — and this is the most correct public method of 
notifying the fact. 

* Robinson's coach will be down the road in a minute, it 
has gone up to Bird's to pick up, — we'll wait till they're 
close, and make a race of it, ' says the leader, ' Now, boys, 
half-a-sovereign apiece if you beat 'em into Dunchurch by 
one hundred yards.' 

'All right, sir,' shouted the grinning postboys. 

Down comes Robinson's coach in a minute or two, with 
a rival cornopean, and away go the two vehicles, horses 
galloping, boys cheering, horns playing loud. There is a 
special Providence over schoolboys as well as sailors, or 
they must have upset twenty times in the first five miles ; 
sometimes actually abreast of one another, and the boys on 
the roofs exchanging volleys of peas, now nearly running 
over a postchaise which had started before them, now half- 
way up a bank, now with a wheel and a half over a yawn- 
ing ditch ; and all this in a dark morning, with nothing 
but their own lamps to guide them. However, it 's all over 
at last, and they have run over nothing but an old pig in 
Southam Street ; the last peas are distributed in the Corn 
Market at Oxford, where they arrive between eleven and 
twelve, and sit down to a sumptuous breakfast at the Angel, 
which they are made to pay for accordingly. Here the 
party breaks up, all going now different ways ; and Tom 



orders out a chaise and pair as grand as a lord, though he 
has scarcely five shillings left in his pocket, and more than 
twenty miles to get home. 

' Where to, sir ? ' 

' Red Lion, Farringdon,' says Tom, giving Ostler a shilling. 

'All right, sir. Red Lion, Jem,' to the postboy, and 
Tom rattles away towards home. At Farringdon, being 
known to the innkeeper, he gets that worthy to pay for the 
Oxford horses, and forward him in another chaise at once ; 
and so the gorgeous young gentleman arrives at the pater- 
nal mansion, and Squire Brown looks rather blue at having 
to pay two pound ten shillings for the posting expenses 
from Oxford. But the boy's intense joy at getting home, 
and the wonderful health he is in, and the good character 
he brings, and the brave stories he tells of Rugby, its doings 
and delights, soon mollify the Squire, and three happier 
people did n't sit down to dinner that day in England 
(it is the boy's first dinner at six o'clock at home, great 
promotion already), than the Squire and his wife, and 
Tom Brown, at the end of his first half-year at Rugby. 



' They are slaves who will not choose 
Hatred, scoffitig, and abuse. 
Rather than in silence shrink 
From the truth they needs must think: 
They are slaves who dare not be 
In the right with two or three. ^ 

Lowell, Stanzas on Freedom 

HE lower-fourth form, in which Tom 
found himself at the beginning of the 
next half-year, was the largest form in 
the lower school, and numbered upwards 
of forty boys. Young gentlemen of all 
ages, from nine to fifteen, w-ere to be 
found there, who expended such part of their energies as 
was devoted to Latin and Greek upon a book of Livy, the 
Bucolics of Virgil, and the Hecuba of Euripides, which were 
ground out in small daily portions. The driving of this 
unlucky lower-fourth must have been grievous work to the 
unfortunate master, for it was the most unhappily consti- 
tuted of any in the School. Here stuck the great stupid 
boys, who for the life of them could never master the 
accidence; the objects alternately of mirth and terror to the 




youngsters, who were daily taking them up, and laughing 
at them in lesson, and getting kicked by them for so doing 
in play-hours. There were no less than three unhappy 
fellows in tail coats, with incipient down on their chins, 
whom the Doctor and the master of the form were always 
endeavouring to hoist into the upper school, but whose 
parsing and construing resisted the most well-meant shoves. 
Then came the mass of the form, boys of eleven and twelve, 
the most mischievous and reckless age of British youth, of 
whom East and Tom Brown were fair specimens. As full 
of tricks as monkeys, and of excuses as Irish women, mak- 
ing fun of their master, one another, and their lessons, 
Argus himself would have been puzzled to keep an eye on 
them ; and as for making them steady or serious for half 
an hour together, it was simply hopeless. The remainder 
of the form consisted of young prodigies of nine and ten, 
who were going up the school at the rate of a form a half- 
year, all boys' hands and wits being against them in their 
progress. It would have been one man's work to see that 
the precocious youngsters had fair play ; and as the master 
had a good deal besides to do, they had n't, and were for 
ever being shoved down three or four places, their verses 
stolen, their books inked, their jackets whitened, and their 
lives otherwise made a burden to them. 

The lower-fourth, and all the forms below it, were heard 
in the great school, and were not trusted to prepare their 
lessons before coming in, but were whipped into school 
three-quarters of an hour before the lesson began by their 
respective masters, and there, scattered about on the 
benches, with dictionary and grammar, hammered out their 
twenty lines of Virgil and Euripides in the midst of Babel. 



The masters of the lower school walked up and down the 
great school together during this three-quarters of an hour, 
or sat in their desks reading or looking over copies, and 
keeping such order as was possible. But the lower-fourth 
was just now an overgrown form, too large for any one man 
to attend to properly, and consequently the elysium or ideal 
form of the young scapegraces who formed the staple of it. 

Tom, as has been said, had come up from the third with 
a good character, but the temptations of the lower-fourth 
soon proved too strong for him, and he rapidly fell away, 
and became as unmanageable as the rest. For some weeks, 
indeed, he succeeded in maintaining the appearance of 
steadiness, and was looked upon favourably by his new 
master, whose eyes were first opened by the following little 

Besides the desk which the master himself occupied, 
there was another large unoccupied desk in the corner of 
the great school, which was untenanted. To rush and seize 
upon this desk, which was ascended by three steps, and 
held four boys, was the great object of ambition of the 
lower-fourthers ; and the contentions for the occupation of 
it bred such disorder, that at last the master forbade its use 
altogether. This of course was a challenge to the more 
adventurous spirits to occupy it, and as it was capacious 
enough for two boys to lie hid there completely, it was 
seldom that it remained empty, notwithstanding the veto. 
Small holes were cut in the front, through which the occu- 
pants watched the masters as they walked up and down, 
and as lesson time approached, one boy at a time stole out 
and down the steps, as the masters' backs were turned, and 
mingled with the general crowd on the forms below. Tom 



and East had successfully occupied the desk some half-dozen 
times, and were grown so reckless that they were in the 
habit of playing small games with fives balls inside, when 


the masters were at the other end of the big school. One 
day, as ill-luck would have it, the game became more excit- 
ing than usual, and the ball slipped through East's fingers, 
and rolled slowly down the steps, and out into the middle 



of the school, just as the masters turned in their walk and 
faced round upon the desk. The young delinquents watched 
their master through the look-out holes march slowly down 
the school straight upon their retreat, while all the boys in 
the neighbourhood of course stopped their work to look on : 
and not only were they ignominiously drawn out, and caned 
over the hand then and there, but their characters for 
steadiness were gone from that time. However, as they 
only shared the fate of some three-fourths of the rest of 
the form, this did not weigh heavily upon them. 

In fact, the only occasions on which they cared about the 
matter were the monthly examinations, when the Doctor 
came round to examine their form, for one long awful hour, 
in the work which they had done in the preceding month. 
The second monthly examination came round soon after 
Tom's fall, and it was with anything but lively anticipations 
that he and the other lower-fourth boys came into prayers 
on the morning of the examination day. 

Prayers and calling-over seemed twice as short as usual, 
and before they could get construes of a tithe of the hard 
passages marked in the margin of their books, they were all 
seated round, and the Doctor was standing in the middle, 
talking in whispers to the master. Tom could n't hear a 
word which passed, and never lifted his eyes from his book ; 
but he knew by a sort of magnetic instinct that the Doctor's 
under-lip w^as coming out and his eye beginning to burn, 
and his gown getting gathered up more and more tightly 
in his left hand. The suspense was agonizing, and Tom 
knew that he was sure on such occasions to make an ex- 
ample of the School-house boys. ' If he would only begin,' 
thought Tom, ' I should n't mind.' 




At last the whispering ceased, and the name which was 
called out was not Brown. He looked up for a moment, but 
the Doctor's face was too awful ; Tom would n't have met his 
eye for all he was worth, and buried himself in his book again. 

The boy who was called up first was a clever merry School- 
house boy, one of their set : he was some connexion of the 
Doctor's, and a great favourite, and ran in and out of his 
house as he liked, and so was selected for the first victim. 

' Triste lupus stabulis,' began the luckless youngster, and 
stammered through some eight or ten lines. 

'There, that will do,' said the Doctor; 'now construe.' 

On common occasions, the boy could have construed the 
passage well enough probably, but now his head was gone. 

'Triste lupus, the sorrowful wolf,' he began. 

A shudder ran through the whole form, and the Doctor's 
wrath fairly boiled over ; he made three steps up to the con- 
struer, and gave him a good box on the ear. The blow was 
not a hard one, but the boy was so taken by surprise that 
he started back ; the form caught the back of his knees, 
and over he went on to the floor behind. There was a dead 
silence over the whole school ; never before and never again 
while Tom was at school did the Doctor strike a boy in 
lesson. The provocation must have been great. However, 
the victim had saved his form for that occasion, for the 
Doctor turned to the top bench, and put on the best boys 
for the rest of the hour ; and though, at the end of the 
lesson, he gave them all such a rating as they did not for- 
get, this terrible field-day passed over without any severe 
visitations in the shape of punishments or floggings. Forty 
young scapegraces expressed their thanks to the ' sorrowful 
wolf ' in their different ways before second lesson. 



But a character for steadiness once gone is not easily 
recovered, as Tom found, and for years afterwards he went 
up the school without it, and the masters' hands were against 
him, and his against them. And he regarded them, as a 
matter of course, as his natural enemies. 

Matters were not so comfortable either in the house as 
they had been, for old Brooke left at Christmas, and one 
or two others of the sixth-form boys at the following Easter. 
Their rule had been rough, but strong and just in the main, 
and a higher standard was beginning to be set up ; in fact, 
there had been a short foretaste of the good time which fol- 
lowed some years later. Just now, however, all threatened 
to return into darkness and chaos again. For the new prae- 
postors were either small young boys, whose cleverness had 
carried them up to the top of the school, while in strength 
of body and character they were not yet fit for a share in 
the government ; or else big fellows of the wrong sort, boys 
whose friendships and tastes had a downward tendency, who 
had not caught the meaning of their position and work, and 
felt none of its responsibilities. So under this no-government 
the School-house began to see bad times. The big fifth-form 
boys, who were a sporting and drinking set, soon began to 
usurp power, and to fag the little boys as if they were prae- 
postors and to bully and oppress any who showed signs of 
resistance. The bigger sort of sixth-form boys just described 
soon made common cause with the fifth, while the smaller 
sort, hampered by their colleagues' desertion to the enemy, 
could not make head against them. So the fags were without 
their lawful masters and protectors, and ridden over rough- 
shod by a set of boys whom they were not bound to obey, and 
whose only right over them stood in their bodily powers ; 

[ 190] 


and, as old Brooke had prophesied, the house by degrees 
broke up into small sets and parties, and lost the strong 
feeling of fellowship which he set so much store by, and 
with it much of the prowess in games, and the lead in all 
school matters, which he had done so much to keep up. 

In no place in the world has individual character more 
weight than at a public school. Remember this, I beseech 
you, all you boys who are getting into the upper forms. 
Now is the time in all }'our lives, probably, when you may 
have more wide influence for good or evil on the society 
you live in than you ever can have again. Quit yourselves 
like men, then ; speak up, and strike out if necessary for 
whatsoever is true, and manly, and lovely, and of good 
report. Never try to be popular, but only to do your duty 
and help others to do theirs, and you may leave the tone 
of feeling in the school higher than you found it, and so be 
doing good, which no living soul can measure, to genera- 
tions of your countrymen yet unborn. For boys follow one 
another in herds like sheep, for good or evil ; they hate 
thinking, and have rarely any settled principles. Every 
school, indeed, has its own traditionary standard of right 
and wrong, which cannot be transgressed with impunity, 
marking certain things as low and blackguard, and certain 
others as lawful and right. This standard is ever varying, 
though it changes only slowly, and little by little ; and, sub- 
ject only to such standard, it is the leading boys for the 
time being who give the tone to all the rest, and make the 
School either a noble institution for the training of Chris- 
tian Englishmen, or a place where a young boy will get more 
evil than he would if lie were turned out to make his way 
in London streets, or anything between these two extremes. 


The change for the worse in the School-house, however, 
did n't press very heavily on our youngsters for some time ; 
they were in a good bedroom, where slept the only prae- 
postor left who was able to keep thorough order, and their 
study was in his passage ; so, though they were fagged 
more or less, and occasionally kicked or cuffed by the bullies, 
they were on the whole well off ; and the fresh brave school- 
life, so full of games, adventures, and good-fellowship, so 
ready at forgetting, so capacious at enjoying, so bright at 
forecasting, outweighed a thousandfold their troubles with 
the master of their form, and the occasional ill-usage of 
the big boys in the house. It was n't till some year or 
so after the events recorded above that the praepostor of 
their room and passage left. None of the other sixth-form 
boys would move into their passage, and, to the disgust and 
indignation of Tom and East, one morning after breakfast 
they were seized upon by Flashman, and made to carry 
down his books and furniture into the unoccupied study 
which he had taken. From this time they began to feel 
the weight of the tyranny of Flashman and his friends, 
and, now that trouble had come home to their own doors, 
began to look out for sympathizers and partners amongst 
the rest of the fags ; and meetings of the oppressed began 
to be held, and murmurs to arise, and plots to be laid, as 
to how they should free themselves and be avenged on 
their enemies. 

While matters were in this state. East and Tom were 
one evening sitting in their study. They had done their 
work for first lesson, and Tom was in a brown-study, brood- 
ing, like a young William Tell, upon the wrongs of fags 
in general, and his own in particular. 



*I say, Scud,' said he at last, rousing himself to snuff 
the candle, ' what right have the fifth-form boys to fag us 
as they do ? ' 

' No more right than you have to fag them,' answered 
East, without looking up from an early number of Pickwick, 
which was just coming out, and which he was luxuriously 
devouring, stretched on his back on the sofa. 

Tom relapsed into his brown-study, and East went on 
reading and chuckUng. The contrast of the boys' faces 
would have given infinite amusement to a looker-on, the 
one so solemn and big with mighty purpose, the other 
radiant and bubbling over with fun. 

' Do you know, old fellow, I 've been thinking it over a 
good deal,' began Tom again. 

* Oh yes, I know, fagging you are thinking of. Hang it 
all — but listen here, Tom — here 's fun. Mr. Winkle's 
horse — ' 

'And I've made up my mind,' broke in Tom, 'that I 
won't fag except for the sixth.' 

'Quite right, too, my boy,' cried East, putting his finger 
on the place and looking up ; ' but a pretty peck of troubles 
you '11 get into, if you 're going to play that game. However, 
I'm all for a strike myself, if we can get others to join — 
it 's getting too bad.' 

' Can't we get some sixth-form fellow to take it up ? ' 
asked Tom. 

' Well, perhaps we might ; Morgan would interfere, I 
think. Only,' added East, after a moment's pause, 'you 
see we should have to tell him about it, and that 's against 
School principles. Don't you remember what old Brooke 
said about learning to take our own parts ? ' 

[ 193] 


' Ah, I wish old Brooke were back again — it was all 
right in his time.' 

' Why yes, you see, then the strongest and best fellows 
were in the sixth, and the fifth-form fellows were afraid of 
them, and they kept good order ; but now our sixth-form 
fellows are too small, and the fifth don't care for them, 
and do what they like in the house.' 

' And so we get a double set of masters,' cried Tom 
indignantly ; ' the lawful ones, who are responsible to the 
Doctor at any rate, and the unlawful — the tyrants, who 
are responsible to nobody.' 

'Down with the tyrants!' cried East; 'I'm all for law 
and order, and hurrah for a revolution.' 

' I should n't mind if it were only for young Brooke now,' 
said Tom, ' he 's such a good-hearted, gentlemanly fellow, 
and ought to be in the sixth — I'd do anything for him. 
But that blackguard Flashman, who never speaks to one 
without a kick or an oath — ' 

' The cowardly brute, ' broke in East, ' how I hate him ! 
And he knows it too ; he knows that you and I think him a 
coward. What a bore that he 's got a study in this passage ! 
Don't you hear them now at supper in his den ? Brandy 
punch going, I '11 bet. I wish the Doctor would come out and 
catch him. We must change our study as soon as we can.' 

' Change or no change, I '11 never fag for him again,' 
said Tom, thumping the table. 

' Fa-a-a-ag ! ' sounded along the passage from Flashman's 
study. The two boys looked at one another in silence. It 
had struck nine, so the regular night-fags had left duty, and 
they were the nearest to the supper-party. East sat up, and 
began to look comical, as he always did under difficulties. 



DON'T YOU rememi;f.r what old i'.roork said about 



* Fa-a-a-ag ! ' again. No answer. 

'Here, Brown! East! you cursed young skulks,' roared 
out Flashman, coming to his open door, ' I know you 're in 
— no shirking.' 

Tom stole to their door, and drew the bolts as noiselessly 
as he could ; East blew out the candle. * Barricade the 
first,' whispered he. ' Now, Tom, mind, no surrender.' 

'Trust me for that,' said Tom between his teeth. 

In another minute they heard the supper-party turn out 
and come down the passage to their door. They held their 
breaths, and heard whispering, of which they only made 
out Flashman's words, ' I know the young brutes are in.' 

Then came summonses to open, which, being unanswered, 
the assault commenced. Luckily the door was a good strong 
oak one, and resisted the united weight of Flashman's party. 
A pause followed, and they heard a besieger remark, 
'They're in safe enough — don't you see how the door 
holds at top and bottom ? so the bolts must be drawn. We 
should have forced the lock long ago.' East gave Tom a 
nudge, to call attention to this scientific remark. 

Then came attacks on particular panels, one of which at 
last gave way to the repeated kicks ; but it broke inwards, 
and the broken piece got jammed across, the door being 
lined with green-baize, and couldn't easily be removed from 
outside ; and the besieged, scorning further concealment, 
strengthened their defences by pressing the end of their sofa 
against the door. So, after one or two more ineffectual efforts, 
Flashman & Co. retired, vowing vengeance in no mild terms. 

The first danger over, it only remained for the besieged to 
effect a safe retreat, as it was now near bed-time. They lis- 
tened intently, and heard the supper-party resettle themselves, 




and then gently drew back first one bolt and then the 
other. Presently the convivial ,noises began again steadily. 
'Now then, stand by for a run,' said East, throwing the 
door wide open and rushing into the passage, closely followed 
by Tom. They were too quick to be caught, but Flashman 
was on the look-out, and sent an empty pickle-jar whizzing 
after them, which narrowly missed Tom's head, and broke 
into twenty pieces at the end of the passage. ' He would n't 
mind killing one, if he wasn't caught,' said East, as they 
turned the corner. 

There was no pursuit, so the two turned into the hall, 
where they found a knot of small boys round the fire. 
Their story was told — the war of independence had broken 
out — who would join the revolutionary forces.? Several 
others present bound themselves not to fag for the fifth 
form at once. One or two only edged off, and left the 
rebels. What else could they do .? * I 've a good mind to 
go to the Doctor straight,' said Tom. 

' That '11 never do — don't you remember the levy of the 
School last half ? ' put in another. 

In fact, that solemn assembly, a levy of the School, had 
been held, at which the captain of the School had got up, 
and, after premising that several instances had occurred of 
matters having been reported to the masters ; that this was 
against public morality and School tradition ; that a levy of 
the sixth had been held on the subject, and they had re- 
solved that the practice must be stopped at once ; had given 
out that any boy, in whatever form, who should thenceforth 
appeal to a master, without having first gone to some prae- 
postor and laid the case before him. should be thrashed 
publicly, and sent to Coventry. 



'Well, then, let's try the sixth. Try Morgan,' suggested 

' No use ' — ' Blabbing won't do,' was the general feeling. 

' I '11 give you fellows a piece of advice,' said a voice from 
the end of the hall. They all turned round with a start, 
and the speaker got up from a bench on which he had been 
lying unobserved, and gave himself a shake ; he was a big 
loose-made fellow, with huge limbs which had grown too 
far through his jacket and trousers. ' Don't you go to any- 
body at all — you just stand out; say you won't fag — 
they '11 soon get tired of licking you. I 've tried it on years 
ago with their forerunners.' 

' No ! did you .'' tell us how it was,' cried a chorus of 
voices, as they clustered round him. 

' Well, just as it is with you. The fifth form would fag 
us, and I and some more struck, and we beat 'em. The 
good fellows left off directly, and the bullies who kept on 
soon got afraid.' 

' Was Flash man here then ? ' 

' Yes ! and a dirty little snivelling, sneaking fellow he 
was too. He never dared join us, and used to toady the 
bullies by offering to fag for them, and peaching against 
the rest of us.' 

' Why was n't he cut then .? ' said East. 

' Oh, toadies never get cut, they 're too useful. Besides, 
he has no end of great hampers from home, with wine and 
game in them ; so he toadied and fed himself into favour.' 

The quarter-to-ten bell now rang, and the small boys 
went off upstairs, still consulting together, and praising their 
new counsellor, who stretched himself out on the bench 
before the Hall fire again. There he lay, a very queer 



specimen of boyhood, by name Diggs, and familiarly called 
'the Mucker.' He was young for his size, and a very clever 
fellow, nearly at the top of the fifth. His friends at home, 
having regard, I suppose, to his age, and not to his size 
and place in the school, had n't put him into tails ; and 
even his jackets were always too small ; and he had a talent 
for destroying clothes, and making himself look shabby. 
He was n't on terms with Plashman's set, who sneered at 
his dress and ways behind his back, which he knew, and 
revenged himself by asking Flashman the most disagreeable 
questions, and treating him familiarly whenever a crowd of 
boys were round them. Neither was he intimate with any of 
the other bigger boys, who were warned off by his oddnesses, 
for he was a very queer fellow ; besides, amongst other 
failings, he had that of impecuniosity in a remarkable de- 
gree. He brought as much money as other boys to school, 
but got rid of it in no time, no one knew how. And then, 
being also reckless,, borrowed from any one, and when his 
debts accumulated and creditors pressed, would have an auc- 
tion in the Hall of everything he possessed in the world, 
selling even his school-books, candlestick, and study table. 
For weeks after one of these auctions, having rendered his 
study uninhabitable, he would live about in the fifth-form 
room and Hall, doing his verses on old letter-backs and 
odd scraps of paper, and learning his lessons no one knew 
how. He never meddled with any little boy, and was popu- 
lar with them, though they all looked on him with a sort 
of compassion, and called him 'poor Diggs,' not being able 
to resist appearances, or to disregard wholly even the sneers 
of their enemy Flashman. However, he seemed equally 
indifferent to the sneers of big boys and the pity of small 



ones, and lived his own queer life with much apparent 
enjoyment to himself. It is necessary to introduce Diggs 
thus particularly, as he not only did Tom and East good serv- 
ice in their present warfare, as is about to be told, but soon 
afterwards, when he got into the sixth, chose them for his 
fags, and excused them from study-fagging, thereby earning 
unto himself eternal gratitude from them, and all who are 
interested in their history. 

And seldom had small boys more need of a friend, for 
the morning after the siege the storm burst upon the rebels 
in all its violence. Flashman laid wait, and caught Tom 
before second lesson, and receiving a point-blank * No,' 
when told to fetch his hat, seized him and twisted his arm, 
and went through the other methods of torture in use : — 
* He couldn't make me cry tho',' as Tom said triumphantly 
to the rest of the rebels, * and I kicked his shins well, I 
know.' And soon it crept out that a lot of the fags were 
in league, and Flashman excited his associates to join him 
in bringing the young vagabonds to their senses ; and the 
house was filled with constant chasings, and sieges, and 
lickings of all sorts ; and in return, the bullies' beds were 
pulled to pieces, and drenched with water, and their names 
written up on the walls with every insulting epithet which 
the fag invention could furnish. The war, in short, raged 
fiercely ; but soon, as Diggs had told them, all the better 
fellows in the fifth gave up tr}'ing to fag them, and public 
feeling began to set against Flashman and his two or three 
intimates, and they were obliged to keep their doings more 
secret, but being thorough bad fellows, missed no oppor- 
tunity of torturing in private. Flashman was an adept in 
all ways, but above all in the power of saying cutting and 

[ 200 ] 




cruel things, and could often bring tears to the eyes of 
boys in this way which all the thrashings in the world 
would n't have wrung from them. 

And as his operations were being cut short in other 
directions, he now devoted himself chiefly to Tom and 



East, who lived at his own door, and would force himself into 
their study whenever he found a chance, and sit there, some- 
times alone, sometimes with a companion, interrupting all 
their work, and exulting in the evident pain which every now 
and then he could see he was inflicting on one or the other. 

The storm had cleared the air for the rest of the house, 
and a better state of things now began than there had 
been since old Brooke had left : but an angry dark spot of 
thunder-cloud still hung over the end of the passage, where 
Flashman's study and that of East and Tom lay. 

He felt that they had been the first rebels, and that the 
rebellion had been to a great extent successful ; but what 
above all stirred the hatred and bitterness of his heart 
against them, was that in the frequent collisions which 
there had been of late, they had openly called him cow- 
ard and sneak • — the taunts were too true to be forgiven. 
While he was in the act of thrashing them, they would roar 
out instances of his funking at football, or shirking some 
encounter with a lout of half his own size. These things 
were all well enough known in the house, but to have 
his disgrace shouted out by small boys, to feel that they 
despised him, to be unable to silence them by any amount 
of torture, and to see the open laugh and sneer of his own 
associates (who were looking on, and took no trouble to 
hide their scorn from him, though they neither interfered 
with his bullying or lived a bit the less intimately with 
him), made him beside himself. Come what might, he 
would make those boys' lives miserable. So the strife set- 
tled down into a personal affair between Flashman and our 
youngsters ; a war to the knife, to be fought out in the 
little cockpit at the end of the bottom passage. 

[ 202 ] 


Flashman, be it said, was about seventeen years old, and 
big and strong for his age. He played well at all games 
where pluck was n't much wanted, and managed generally 
to keep up appearances where it was ; and having a bluff 
off-hand manner, which passed for heartiness, and consider- 
able powers of being pleasant when he liked, went down 
with the school in general for a good fellow enough. Even 
in the School-house, by dint of his command of money, the 
constant supply of good things which he kept up, and his 
adroit toadyism, he had managed to make himself not only 
tolerated, but rather popular amongst his own contempo- 
raries ; although young Brooke scarcely spoke to him, and 
one or two others of the right sort showed their opinions 
of him whenever a chance offered. But the wrong sort 
happened to be in the ascendant just now, and so Flashman 
was a formidable enemy for small boys. This soon became 
plain enough. Flashman left no slander unspoken, and no 
deed undone, which could in any way hurt his victims, or 
isolate them from the rest of the house. One by one most 
of the other rebels fell away from them, while Flashman 's 
cause prospered, and several other fifth-form boys began to 
look black at them and ill-treat them as they passed about 
the house. By keeping out of bounds, or at all events out 
of the house and quadrangle, all day, and carefully barring 
themselves in at night, East and Tom managed to hold on 
without feeling very miserable ; but it was as much as they 
could do. Greatly were they drawn then towards old Diggs, 
who, in an uncouth way, began to take a good deal of notice 
of them, and once or twice came to their study when Flash- 
man was there, who immediately decamped in consequence. 
The boys thought that Diggs must have been watching. 



When therefore, about this time, an auction was one 
night announced to take place in the Hall, at which, 
amongst the superfluities of other boys, all Diggs' Penates 
for the time being were going to the hammer. East and 
Tom laid their heads together, and resolved to devote their 
ready cash (some four shillings sterling) to redeem such 
articles as that sum would cover. Accordingly, they duly 
attended to bid, and Tom became the owner of two lots 
of Diggs' things — lot 1, price one-and-threepence, consist- 
ing (as the auctioneer remarked) of a ' valuable assortment 
of old metals,' in the shape of a mouse-trap, a cheese- 
toaster without a handle, and a saucepan ; lot 2, of a vil- 
lainous dirty table-cloth and green-baize curtain ; while East, 
for one-and-sixpence, purchased a leather paper-case, with 
a lock but no key, once handsome, but now much the worse 
for wear. But they had still the point to settle, of how to 
get Diggs to take the things without hurting his feelings. 
This they solved by leaving them in his study, which was 
never locked when he was out. Diggs, who had attended 
the auction, remembered who had bought the lots, and came 
to their study soon after, and sat silent for some time, 
cracking his great red finger-joints. Then he laid hold of 
their verses, and began looking over and altering them, 
and at last got up, and turning his back to them, said, 
' You 're uncommon good-hearted little beggars, you two — 
I value that paper-case, my sister gave it me last holidays 
— I won't forget ' ; and so tumbled out into the passage, 
leaving them somewhat embarrassed, but not sorry, that he 
knew what they had done. 

The next morning was Saturday, the day on which the 
allowances of one shilling a week were paid, an important 



event to spendthrift youngsters ; and great was the disgust 
amongst the small fry to hear that all the allowances had 
been impounded for the Derby lottery. That great event 
in the English year, the Derby, was celebrated at Rugby 
in those days by many lotteries. It was not an improving 
custom, I own, gentle reader, and led to making books and 
betting and other objectionable results ; but when our great 
Houses of Palaver think it right to stop the nation's busi- 
ness on that day, and many of the members bet heavily 
themselves, can you blame us boys for following the example 
of our betters ? — at any rate, we did follow it. First there 
was the great School lottery', where the first prize was six 
or seven pounds ; then each house had one or more sepa- 
rate lotteries. These were all nominally voluntary, no boy 
being compelled to put in his shilling who did n't choose 
to do so : but besides Flashman, there were three or four 
other fast sporting young gentlemen in the School-house 
who considered subscription a matter of duty and necessity, 
and so, to make their duty come easy to the small boys, 
quietly secured the allowances in a lump when given out 
for distribution, and kept them. It was no use grumbling — 
so many fewer tartlets and apples were eaten and fives-balls 
bought on that Saturday ; and after locking-up, when the 
money would otherwise have been spent, consolation was 
carried to many a small boy by the sound of the night-fags 
shouting along the passages, ' Gentlemen sportsmen of the 
School-house, the lottery 's going to be drawn in the Hall.' 
It was pleasant to be called a gentleman sportsman — also 
to have a chance of drawing a favourite horse. 

The Hall was full of boys, and at the head of one of the 
long tables stood the sporting interest, with a hat before 



them, in which were the tickets folded up. One of them 
then began calHng out the hst of the house ; each boy as 
his name was called drew a ticket from the hat and opened 
it ; and most of the bigger boys, after drawing, left the 
Hall directly to go back to their studies or the fifth-form 
room. The sporting interest had all drawn blanks, and they 
were sulky accordingly ; neither of the favourites had yet 
been drawn, and it had come down to the upper- fourth. 
So now, as each small boy came up and drew his ticket, it 
was seized and opened by Flashman, or some other of the 
standers-by. But no great favourite is drawn until it comes 
to the Tadpole's turn, and he shuffles up and draws, and 
tries to make off, but is caught, and his ticket is opened 
like the rest. 

'Here you are! Wanderer! the third favourite,' shouts 
the opener. 

' I say, just give me my ticket, please,' remonstrates 

* Hullo, don't be in a hurry,' breaks in Plashman ; ' what '11 
you sell Wanderer for, now ? ' 

' I don't want to sell,' rejoins Tadpole. 

' Oh, don't you ! Now listen, you young fool — you don't 
know anything about it ; the horse is no use to you. He 
won't win, but I want him as a hedge. Now I '11 give you 
half a crown for him.' Tadpole holds out, but between threats 
and cajoleries at length sells half for one shilling and 
sixpence, about a fifth of its fair market value ; however, 
he is glad to realize anything, and, as he wisely remarks, 
'Wanderer mayn't win, and the tizzy is safe, anyhow.' 

East presently comes up and draws a blank. Soon after 
comes Tom's turn ; his ticket, like the others, is seized and 





opened. ' Here you are, then,' shouts the opener, holding 
it up, ' Harkaway ! By Jove, Flashey, your young friend 's 
' in luck.' 

'Give me the ticket,' says Flashman with an oath, lean- 
ing across the table with open hand, and his face black 
with rage. 

'Wouldn't you like it.?' replies the opener, not a bad 
fellow at the bottom, and no admirer of Flashman's. ' Here, 
Brown, catch hold,' and he hands the ticket to Tom, who 
pockets it ; whereupon Flashman makes for the door at once, 
that Tom and the ticket may not escape, and there keeps 
watch until the drawing is over and all the boys are gone, 
except the sporting set of five or six, who stay to compare 
books, make bets, and so on, Tom, who does n't choose to 
move while Flashman is at the door, and East, who stays 
by his friend, anticipating trouble. 

The sporting set now gathered round Tom. Public opinion 
would n't allow them actually to rob him of his ticket, but 
any humbug or intimidation by which he could be driven to 
sell the whole or part at an under value was lawful. 

' Now, young Brown, come, what '11 you sell me Hark- 
away for.? I hear he is n't going to start. I '11 give you five 
shillings for him,' begins the boy who had opened the ticket. 
Tom, remembering his good deed, and, moreover, in his 
forlorn state wishing to make a friend, is about to accept 
the offer, when another cries out, ' I '11 give you seven 
shillings.' Tom hesitated, and looked from one to the other, 

' No, no ! ' said Flashman, pushing in, ' leave me to deal 
with him ; we '11 draw lots for it afterwards. Now, sir, you 
know mc — you '11 sell Harkaway to us for five shillings, or 
you '11 repent it,' 



'I won't sell a bit of him,' answered Tom shortly. 

' You hear that now ! ' said Flashman, turning to the 
others. ' He 's the coxiest young blackguard in the house 
— I always told you so. We 're to have all the trouble 
and risk of getting up the lotteries for the benefit of such 
fellows as he.' 

Flashman forgets to explain what risk they ran, but he 
speaks to willing ears. Gambling makes boys selfish and 
cruel as well as men. 

' That 's true — we always draw blanks,' cried one. ' Now, 
sir, you shall sell half, at any rate.' 

' I won't,' said Tom, flushing up to his hair, and lumping 
them all in his mind with his sworn enemy. 

'Very well then, let's roast him,' cried Flashman, and 
catches hold of Tom by the collar : one or two boys hesitate, 
but the rest join in. East seizes Tom's arm and tries to 
pull him away, but is knocked back by one of the boys, 
and Tom is dragged along struggling. His shoulders are 
pushed against the mantelpiece, and he is held by main 
force before the fire, Flashman drawing his trousers tight 
by way of extra torture. Poor East, in more pain even 
than Tom, suddenly thinks of Diggs, and darts off to find 
him. ' Will you sell now for ten shillings .'' ' says one boy, 
who is relenting. 

Tom only answeis by groans and struggles. 

' I say, Flashey, he has had enough,' says the same boy, 
dropping the arm he holds. 

' No, no, another turn '11 do it,' answers Flashman. But 
poor Tom is done already, turns deadly pale, and his head 
falls forward on his breast, just as Diggs, in frantic excite- 
ment, rushes into the Hall with East at his heels. 




' You cowardly brutes ! ' is all he can say as he catches 
Tom from them and supports him to the Hall table. ' Good 
God! he's dying. Here, get some cold water — run for 
the housekeeper.' 

Flashman and one or two others slink away ; the rest, 
ashamed and sorry, bend over Tom or run for water, while 
East darts off for the housekeeper. Water comes, and they 
throw it on his hands and face, and he begins to come to. 
' Mother ! ' — the words came feebly and slowly — ' it 's very 
cold to-night.' Poor old Diggs is blubbering like a child. 
' Where am I ? ' goes on Tom, opening his eyes. ' Ah ! I 
remember now,' and he shut his eyes again and groaned. 

'I say,' is whispered, 'we can't do any good, and the 
housekeeper will be here in a minute,' and all but one 
steal away ; he stays with Diggs, silent and sorrowful, and 
fans Tom's face. 

The housekeeper comes in with strong salts, and Tom 
soon recovers enough to sit up. There is a smell of burning ; 
she examines his clothes, and looks up inquiringly. The 
boys are silent. 

* How did he come so ? ' No answer. 

'There's been some bad work here,' she adds, looking 
very serious, ' and I shall speak to the Doctor about it.' 
Still no answer. 

' Had n't we better carry him to the sick-room ? ' 
suggests Diggs. 

'Oh, I can walk now,' says Tom; and, supported by 
East and the housekeeper, goes to the sick-room. The boy 
who held his ground is soon amongst the rest, who are all 
in fear of their lives. ' Did he peach .'' ' ' Does she know 
about it ? ' 



* Not a word — he 's a staunch httle fellow.' And pausing 
a moment, he adds, 'I'm sick of this work: what brutes 
we 've been ! ' 

Meanwhile Tom is stretched on the sofa in the house- 
keeper's room, with East by his side, while she gets wine 
and water and other restoratives. 

' Are you much hurt, dear old boy ? ' whispers East. 

'Only the back of my legs,' answers Tom. They are 
indeed badly scorched, and part of his trousers burnt 
through. But soon he is in bed with cold bandages. At 
first he feels broken, and thinks of writing home and 
getting taken away ; and the verse of a hymn he had 
learned years ago sings through his head, and he goes to 
sleep, murmuring — 

' Where the wicked cease from troubling, 
And the weary are at rest.' 

But after a sound night's rest the old boy-spirit comes 
back again. East comes in reporting that the whole House 
is with him, and he forgets everything except their old 
resolve, never to be beaten by that bully Flashman. 

Not a word could the housekeeper extract from either of 
them, and though the Doctor knew all that she knew that 
morning, he never knew any more. • 

I trust and believe that such scenes are not possible now 
at school, and that lotteries and betting-books have gone out ; 
but I am writing of schools as they were in our time, and 
must give the evil with the good. 



g ^^vf^ c; 


bh-o;;s,t°^^ \".mo.'yff^ > 

-^-^ ^-T" ^"^^'^'^' v^^v^-^Jtl^ir^^ga^^v^s's^. 

Chapter IX 

* Wherein I \jpeak\ of most disastrous chances. 
Of mo'-jing accidents by flood and field. 
Of hair-breadth ^scapes.'' 


HEN Tom came back into school after 
a couple of days in the sick-room, he 
found matters much changed for the 
better, as East had led him to expect. 
Flashman's brutality had disgusted even 
most of his intimate friends, and his cowardice had once 
more been made plain to the House ; for Diggs had en- 
countered him on the morning after the lottery, and after 
high words on both sides, had struck him, and the blow 
was not returned. However, Flashey was not unused to 
this sort of thing, and had lived through as awkward affairs 
before, and, as Diggs had said, fed and toadied himself 
back into favour again. Two or three of the boys who 
had helped to roast Tom came up and begged his pardon, 



and thanked him for not telling anything. Morgan sent 
for him, and was inclined to take the matter up warmly, 
but Tom begged him not to do it ; to which he agreed, 
on Tom's promising to come to him at once in future — 
a promise which I regret to say he did n't keep. Tom 
kept Harkaway all to himself, and won the second prize 
in the lottery, some thirty shillings, which he and East 
contrived to spend in about three days, in the purchase of 
pictures for their study, two new bats and a cricket-ball, 
all the best that could be got, and a supper of sausages, 
kidneys, and beef-steak pies to all the rebels. Light come, 
light go ; they would n't have been comfortable with money 
in their pockets in the middle of the half. 

The embers of Flashman's wrath, however, were still 
smouldering, and burst out every now and then in sly 
blows and taunts, and they both felt that they had n't quite 
done with him yet. It was n't long, however, before the 
last act of that drama came, and with it, the end of bully- 
ing for Tom and East at Rugby. They now often stole 
out into the Hall at nights, incited thereto, partly by the 
hope of finding Diggs there and having a talk with him, 
partly by the excitement of doing something which was 
against rules ; for, sad to say, both of our youngsters, since 
their loss of character for steadiness in their form, had got 
into the habit of doing things which were forbidden, as a 
matter of adventure ; just in the same way, I should fancy, 
as men fall into smuggling, and for the same sort of reasons. 
Thoughtlessness in the first place. It never occurred to 
them to consider why such and such rules were laid down, 
the reason was nothing to them, and they only looked 
upon rules as a sort of challenge from the rule-makers, 



which it would be rather bad pluck in them not to accept ; 
and then, again, in the lower parts of the school they 
had n't enough to do. The work of the form they could 
manage to get through pretty easily, keeping a good 
enough place to get their regular yearly remove ; and not 
having much ambition beyond, this, their whole superfluous 
steam was available for games and scrapes. Now, one 
rule of the House which it was a daily pleasure of all such 
boys to break, was that after supper all fags, except the 
three on duty in the passages, should remain in their own 
studies until nine o'clock ; and if caught about the passages 
or Hall, or in one another's studies, they were liable to 
punishments or caning. The rule was stricter than its 
observance ; for most of the sixth spent their evenings in 
the fifth-form room, where the library was, and the lessons 
were learnt in common. Every now and then, however, a 
praepostor would be seized with a fit of district visiting, 
and would make a tour of the passages and Hall, and the 
fags' studies. Then, if the owner were entertaining a 
friend or two, the first kick at the door and ominous 
' Open here ' had the effect of the shadow of a hawk over 
a chicken-yard ; every one cut to cover — one small boy 
diving under the sofa, another under the table, while the 
owner would hastily pull down a book or two and open 
them, and cry out in a meek voice, ' Hullo, who 's there ? ' 
casting an anxious eye round, to see that no protruding 
leg or elbow could betray the hidden boys. ' Open, sir, 
directly; it's Snooks.' * Oh, I'm very sorry; I didn't 
know it was you, Snooks ' ; and then, with well-feigned 
zeal, the door would be opened, young hopeful praying 
that that beast Snooks might n't have heard the scuffle 



caused by his coming. If a study was empty, Snooks pro- 
ceeded to draw the passages and Hall to find the truants. 

Well, one evening, in forbidden hours, Tom and East 
were in the Hall. They occupied the seats before the fire 
nearest the door, while Diggs sprawled as usual before the 
further fire. He was busy with a copy of verses, and East 
and Tom were chatting together in whispers by the light 
of the fire, and splicing a favourite old fives-bat which had 
sprung. Presently a step came down the bottom passage ; 
they listened a moment, assured themselves that it was n't 
a praepostor, and then went on with their work, and the 
door swung open, and in walked Flashman. He did n't 
see Diggs, and thought it a good chance to keep his hand 
in ; and as the boys did n't move for him, struck one of 
them, to make them get out of his way. 

' What 's that for ? ' growled the assaulted one. 

' Because I choose. You 've no business here ; go to 
your study.' 

' You can't send us.' 

' Can't I } Then I '11 thrash you if you stay,' said 
Flashman savagely. 

' I say, you two,' said E'ggs, from the end of the Hall, 
rousing up and resting himself on his elbow, ' you '11 never 
get rid of that fellow till you lick him. Go in at him, 
both of you — I '11 see fair play.' 

Flashman was taken aback, and retreated two steps. 
East looked at Tom. 'Shall we try.?' said he. 'Yes,' 
said Tom, desperately. So the two advanced on Flashman, 
with clenched fists and beating hearts. They were about 
up to his shoulder, but tough boys of their age, and in 
perfect training ; while he, though strong and big, was in 




poor condition from his monstrous habits of stuffing and 
want of exercise. Coward as he was, however, Flashman 
could n't swallow such an insult as this ; besides, he was 
confident of having easy work, and so faced the boys, 
saying, ' You impudent young blackguards ! ' — Before he 
could finish his abuse, they rushed in on him, and began 
pummelling at all of him which they could reach. He hit 
out wildly and savagely, but the full force of his blows 
did n't tell, they were too near him. It was long odds, 
though, in point of strength, and in another minute Tom 
went spinning backwards over a form, and Flashman 
turned to demolish East, with a savage grin. But now 
Diggs jumped down from the table on which he had 
seated himself. 'Stop there,' shouted he, 'the round's 
over — half-minute time allowed.' 

' What the is it to you ? ' faltered Flashman, who 

began to lose heart. 

' Fm going to see fair, I tell you,' said Diggs with a 
grin, and snapping his great red fingers ; ' 'tain't fair for 
you to be fighting one of them at a time. Are you ready, 
Brown ? Time 's up.' 

The small boys rushed in again. Closing they saw was 
their best chance, and Flashman was wilder and more 
flurried than ever : he caught East by the throat, and tried 
to force him back on the iron-bound table ; Tom grasped 
his waist, and, remembering the old throw he had learned 
in the Vale from Harry Winburn, crooked his leg inside 
Flashman's, and threw his whole weight forward. The 
three tottered for a moment, and then over they went on 
to the floor, Flashman striking his head against a form in 
the Hall. 




The two youngsters sprang to their legs, but he lay 
there still. They began to be frightened. Tom stooped 
down, and then cried out, scared out of his wits, ' He 's 
bleeding awfully ; come here. East, Diggs — he 's dying ! ' 

' Not he,' said Diggs, getting leisurely off the table ; 
' it 's all sham — he 's only afraid to fight it out.' 

East was as frightened as Tom. Diggs lifted Flash- 
man's head, and he groaned. 

' What 's the matter ? ' shouted Diggs. 

'My skull's fractured,' sobbed Flashman. 

* Oh, let me run for the housekeeper,' cried Tom. 
• What shall we do ? ' 

'Fiddlesticks! it's nothing but the skin broken,' said 
the relentless Diggs, feeling his head. ' Cold water and a 
bit of rag 's all he '11 want.' 

* Let me go,' said Flashman, surlily, sitting up ; ' I don't 
want your help.' 

'We 're really very sorry,' began East. 

' Hang your sorrow,' answered Flashman, holding his 
handkerchief to the place ; ' you shall pay for this, I can 
tell you, both of you.' And he walked out of the Hall. 

' He can't be very bad,' said Tom with a deep sigh, 
much relieved to see his enemy march so well. 

'Not he,' said Diggs, 'and you'll see you won't be 
troubled with him any more. But, I say, your head 's 
broken too- — -your collar is covered with blood.' 

' Is it, though ? ' said Tom, putting up his hand ; ' I 
did n't know it.' 

' Well, mop it up, or you '11 have your jacket spoilt. 
And you have got a nasty eye. Scud ; you 'd better go 
and bathe it well in cold water.' 



' Cheap enough too, if we 've done with our old friend 
Flashey,' said East, as they made off upstairs to bathe 
their wounds. 

They had done with Flashman in one sense, for he 
never laid finger on either of them again ; but whatever 
harm a spiteful heart and venomous tongue could do them, 
he took care should be done. Only throw dirt enough, and 
some of it is sure to stick ; and so it was with the fifth 
form and the bigger boys in general, with whom he as- 
sociated more or less, and they not at all. Flashman man- 
aged to get Tom and East into disfavour, which did not 
wear off for some time after the author of it had disappeared 
from the School world. This event, much prayed for by 
the small fry in general, took place a few months after the 
above encounter. One fine summer evening Flashman had 
been regaling himself on gin-punch, at Brownsover ; and 
having exceeded his usual limits, started home uproarious. 
He fell in with a friend or two coming back from bath- 
ing, proposed a glass of beer, to which they assented, the 
weather being hot, and they thirsty souls, and unaware of 
the quantity of drink which Flashman had already on board. 
The short result was that Flashey became beastly drunk ; 
they tried to get him along, but could n't ; so they chartered 
a hurdle and two men to carry him. One of the masters 
came upon them, and they naturally enough fled. The 
flight of the rest raised the master's suspicions, and the 
good angel of the fags incited him to examine the freight, 
and, after examination, to convoy the hurdle himself up to 
the School-house ; and the Doctor, who had long had 
his eye on Flashman, arranged for his withdrawal next 



The evil that men, and boys too, do, hves after them : 
Flashman was gone, but our boys, as hinted above, still 
felt the effects of his hate. Besides, they had been the 
movers of the strike against unlawful fagging. The cause 
was righteous — the result had been triumphant to a great 
extent ; but the best of the fifth, even those who had never 
fagged the small boys, or had given up the practice cheer- 
fully, could n't help feeling a small grudge against the 
first rebels. After all, their form had been defied — on just 
grounds, no doubt ; so just, indeed, that they had at once 
acknowledged the wrong, and remained passive in the strife : 
had they sided with Flashman and his set, the rebels must 
have given way at once. They could n't help, on the whole, 
being glad that they had so acted, and that the resis- 
tance had been successful against such of their own form 
as had shown fight ; they felt that law and order had gained 
thereby, but the ringleaders they couldn't quite pardon at 
once. ' Confoundedly coxy those young rascals will get, if 
we don't mind,' was the general feeling. 

So it is, and must be always, my dear boys. If the 
Angel Gabriel were to come down from Heaven, and 
head a successful rise against the most abominable and un- 
righteous vested interest which this poor old world groans 
under, he would most certainly lose his character for many 
years, probably for centuries, not only with upholders of 
said vested interest, but with the respectable mass of the 
people whom he had delivered. They would n't ask him to 
dinner, or let their names appear with his in the papers ; 
they would be very careful how they spoke of him in the 
Palaver, or at their clubs. What can we expect, then, when 
we have only poor gallant blundering men like Kossuth, 

[ 220 ] 


Garibaldi, Mazzini, and righteous causes which do not 
triumph in their hands ; men who have holes enough in 
their armour, God knows, easy to be hit by respectabilities 
sitting in their lounging chairs, and having large balances 
at their bankers' ? But you are brave gallant boys, who 
hate easy-chairs, and have no balances or bankers. You 
only want to have your heads set straight to take the right 
side : so bear in mind that majorities, especially respectable 
ones, are nine times out of ten in the wrong ; and that if you 
see a man or boy striving earnestly on the weak side, how- 
ever wrong-headed or blundering he may be, you are not to 
go and join the cry against him. If you can't join him and 
help him, and make him. wiser, at any rate remember that 
he has found something in the world which he will fight 
and suffer for, which is just what you have got to do for 
yourselves ; and so think and speak of him tenderly. 

So East and Tom, the . Tadpole, and one or two more, 
became a sort of young Ishmaelites, their hands against 
every one, and every one's hand against them. It has been 
already told how they got to war with the masters and 
the fifth form, and with the sixth it was much the same. 
They saw the praepostors cowed by or joining with the fifth, 
and shirking their own duties ; so they did n't respect them, 
and rendered no willing obedience. It had been one thing 
to clean out studies for sons of heroes like old Brooke, but 
was cjuitc another to do the like for Snooks and Green, 
who had never faced a good scrummage at football, and 
could n't keep the passages in order at night. So they 
only slurred through their fagging just well enough to 
escape a licking, and not always that, and got the char- 
acter of sulky, unwilling fags. In the fifth-form room, 



after supper, when such matters were often discussed and 
arranged, their names were for ever coming up. 

'I say, Green,' Snooks began one night, 'isn't that new 
boy, Harrison, your fag ? ' 

* Yes, why ? ' 

' Oh, I know something of him at home, and should hke 
to excuse him — will you swop ? ' 

* Who will you give me ? ' 

' Well, let 's see, there 's W^illis, Johnson. — No, that won't 
do. Yes, I have it — there 's young East, I '11 give you him.' 

' Don't you wish you may get it .-' ' replied Green. * I '11 
tell you what I '11 do — I '11 give you two for Willis, if 
you like.' 

' Who then .? ' asks Snooks. 

' Hall and Brown.' 

' Would n't have 'em at a gift.' 

' Better than East, though ; for they ain't quite so sharp,' 
said Green, getting up and leaning his back against the 
mantel-piece — he wasn't a bad fellow, and couldn't help 
not being able to put down the unruly fifth form. His 
eye twinkled as he went on, ' Did I ever tell you how the 
young vagabond sold me last half ? ' 

' No — how ? ' 

' Well, he never half cleaned my study out, only just 
stuck the candlesticks in the cupboard, and swept the 
crumbs on to the floor. So at last I was mortal angry, and 
had him up, made him go through the whole performance 
under my eyes : the dust the young scamp made nearly 
choked me, and showed that he had n't swept the carpet 
before. Well, when it was all finished, " Now, young 
gentleman," says I, "mind, I expect this to be done every 



morning, floor swept, table-cloth taken off and shaken, and 
everything dusted." "Very well," grunts he. Not a bit of 
it though — I was quite sure in a day or two that he never 
took the table-cloth off even. So I laid a trap for him : I 
tore up some paper and put half a dozen bits on my table 
one night, and the cloth over them as usual. Next morn- 
ing, after breakfast, up I came, pulled off the cloth, and 
sure enough there was the paper, which fluttered down on 
to the floor. I was in a towering rage. " I 've got you 
now," thought I, and sent for him, while I got out my 
cane. Up he came as cool as you please, with his hands 
in his pockets. " Did n't I tell you to shake my table-cloth 
every morning.?" roared I. "Yes," says he. "Did you 
do it this morning.''" "Yes." "You young liar! I put 
these pieces of paper on the table last night, and if you 'd 
taken the table-cloth off you'd have seen them, so I'm 
going to give you a good licking." Then my youngster 
takes one hand out of his pocket, and just stoops down 
and picks up two of the bits of paper, and holds them out 
to me. There was written on each, in great round text, 
" Harry East, his mark." The young rogue had found my 
trap out, taken away my paper, and put some of his there, 
every bit ear-marked. I'd a great mind to lick him for his 
impudence, but after all one has no right to be laying traps, 
so I did n't. Of course, I was at his mercv till the end 
of the half, and in his weeks my study was so frowsy, I 
could n't sit in it.' 

'They spoil one's things so, too,' chimed in a third boy. 
* Hall and Brown were night-fags last week : I called " Fag," 
and gave them my candlesticks to clean ; away they went, 
and did n't appear again. When they 'd had time enough 



to clean them three times over, I went out to look after 
them. They were n't in the passages, so down I went into 
the Hall, where I heard music, and there I found them 
sitting on the table, listening to Johnson, who was playing 
the flute, and my candlesticks stuck between the bars well 
into the fire, red-hot, clean-spoiled ; they 've never stood 
straight since, and I must get some more. However, I 
gave them both a good licking, that 's one comfort.' 

Such were the sort of scrapes they were always getting 
into : and so, partly by their own faults, partly from circum- 
stances, partly from the faults of others, they found them- 
selves outlaws, ticket-of-leave men, or what you will in that 
line : in short, dangerous parties, and lived the sort of hand- 
to-mouth, wild, reckless life which such parties generally 
have to put up with. Nevertheless, they never quite lost 
favour with young Brooke, who was now the cock of the 
house, and just getting into the sixth, and Diggs stuck to 
them like a man, and gave them store of good advice, by 
which they never in the least profited. 

And even after the house mended, and law and order 
had been restored, which soon happened after young Brooke 
and Diggs got into the sixth, they could n't easily or at once 
return into the paths of steadiness, and many of the old 
wild out-of-bounds habits stuck to them as firmly as ever. 
While they had been quite little boys, the scrapes they got 
into in the School had n't much mattered to any one ; but 
now they were in the upper school, all wrong-doers from 
which were sent up straight to the Doctor at once : so they 
began to come under his notice ; and as they were a sort 
of leaders in a small way amongst their own contemporaries, 
his eye, which was everywhere, was upon them. 




It was a toss-up whether they turned out well or ill, and 
so they were just the boys who caused most anxiety to such 
a master. You have been told of the first occasion on which 
they were sent up to the Doctor, and the remembrance of 
it was so pleasant that they had much less fear of him 
than most boys of their standing had. ' It 's all his look,' 
Tom used to say to East, ' that frightens fellows : don't 
you remember, he never said anything to us my first half- 
year, for being an hour late for locking-up .'' ' 

The next time that Tom came before him, however, the 
interview was of a very different kind. It happened just about 
the time at which we have now arrived, and was the first 
of a series of scrapes into which our hero managed now 
to tumble. 

The river Avon at Rugby is a slow and not very clear 
stream, in which chub, dace, roach, and other coarse fish 
are (or were) plentiful enough, together with a fair sprin- 
kling of small jack, but no fish worth sixpence either for 
sport or food. It is, however, a capital river for bathing, 
as it has many nice small pools and several good reaches 
for swimming, all within about a mile of one another, and 
at an easy twenty minutes' walk from the school. This mile 
of water is rented, or used to be rented, for bathing pur- 
poses, by the Trustees of the School, for the boys. The 
footpath to Brownsover crosses the river by 'the Planks,' a 
curious old single-plank bridge, running for fifty or sixty 
yards into the flat meadows on each side of the river — for 
in the winter there are frequent floods. Above the Planks 
were the bathing-places for the smaller boys ; Sleath's, the 
first bathing-place where all new boys had to begin, until 
they had proved to the bathing-men (three steady individuals 



who were paid to attend daily through the summer to 
prevent accidents) that they could swim pretty decently, 
when they were allowed to go on to Anstey's, about one 
hundred and fifty yards below. Here there was a hole about 
six feet deep and twelve feet across, over which the puffing 
urchins struggled to the opposite side, and thought no small 
beer of themselves for having been out of their depths. 
Below the Planks came larger and deeper holes, the first 
of which was Wratislaw's, and the last Swift's, a famous 
hole, ten or twelve feet deep in parts, and thirty yards 
across, from which there was a fine swimming reach right 
down to the Mill. Swift's was reserved for the sixth and 
fifth forms, and had a spring-board and two sets of steps : 
the others had one set of steps each, and were used indif- 
ferently by all the lower boys, though each house addicted 
itself more to one hole than to another. The School-house 
at this time affected Wratislaw's hole, and Tom and East, 
who had learnt to swim like fishes, were to be found there 
as regular as the clock through the summer, always twice, 
and often three times a day. 

Now the boys either had, or fancied they had, a right 
also to fish at their pleasure over the whole of this part of 
the river, and would not understand that the right (if any) 
only extended to the Rugby side. As ill luck would have 
it, the gentleman who owned the opposite bank, after allow- 
ing it for some time without interference, had ordered his 
keepers not to let the boys fish on his side ; the conse- 
quence of which had been that there had been first wran- 
glings and then fights between the keepers and boys ; 
and so keen had the quarrel become, that the landlord and 
his keepers, after a ducking had been inflicted on one of 

[227 ] 


the latter, and a fierce fight ensued thereon, had been up 
to the great school at calling-over to identify the delin- 
quents, and it was all the Doctor himself and five or six 
masters could do to keep the peace. Not even his authority 
could prevent the hissing, and so strong was the feeling, 
that the four praepostors of the week walked up the school 
with their canes, shouting ' S-s-s-s-i-lenc-c-c-c-e ' at the top 
of their voices. However, the chief offenders for the time 
were flogged and kept in bounds, but the victorious party 
had brought a nice hornet's nest about their ears. The 
landlord was hissed at the School gates as he rode past, 
and when he charged his horse at the mob of boys, and 
tried to thrash them with his whip, was driven back 
by cricket bats and wickets, and pursued with pebbles 
and fives-balls ; while the wretched keepers' lives were 
a burthen to them, from having to watch the waters so 

The School-house boys of Tom's standing, one and all, 
as a protest against this tyranny and cutting short of their 
lawful amusements, took to fishing in all ways, and espe- 
cially by means of night-lines. The little tackle-maker at 
the bottom of the town would soon have made his fortune 
had the rage lasted, and several of the barbers began to lay 
in fishing-tackle. The boys had this great advantage over 
their enemies, that they spent a large portion of the day in 
nature's garb by the river-side, and so, when tired of swim- 
ming, would get out on the other side and fish, or set 
night-lines till the keeper hove in sight, and then plunge 
in and swim back and mix with the other bathers, and the 
keepers were too wise to follow across the stream. 

While things were in this state, one day Tom and three 



or four others were bathing at Wratislaw's, and had, as a 
matter of course, been taking up and resetting night-lines. 
They had all left the water, and were sitting or standing 
about at their toilets, in all costumes from a shirt upwards, 
when they were aware of a man in a velveteen shooting-coat 
approaching from the other side. He was a new keeper, so 
they did n't recognize or notice him till he pulled up right 
opposite, and began : 

' I see'd some of you young gentlemen over this side 
a-fishing just now.' 

' Hullo, who are you ? What business is that of yours, 
old Velveteens ? ' 

'I'm the new under-keeper, and master's told me to 
keep a sharp look-out on all o' you young chaps. And I 
tells 'ee I means business, and you 'd better keep on your 
own side, or we shall fall out.' 

' Well, that 's right. Velveteens — speak out, and let 's 
know your mind at once.' 

' Look here, old boy,' cried East, holding up a miserable 
coarse fish or two and a small jack, ' would you like to 
smell 'em and see which bank they lived under ? ' 

' I '11 give you a bit of advice, keeper,' shouted Tom, 
who was sitting in his shirt paddling with his feet in the 
river ; ' you 'd better go down there to Swift's, where the 
big boys are ; they 're beggars at setting lines, and '11 put 
you up to a wrinkle or two for catching the five-pounders.' 
Tom was nearest to the keeper, and that officer, who was 
getting angry at the chaff, fixed his eyes on our hero, as if 
to take a note of him for future use. Tom returned his 
gaze with a steady stare, and then broke into a laugh, and 
struck into the middle of a favourite School-house song — 



' As I and my companions 
Were setting of a snare, 
The gamekeeper was watching us, 

For him we did not care : 
For we can wrestle and fight, my boys, 
And jump out anywhere. 

For it 's my delight of a likely night. 
In the season of the year.' 

The chorus was taken up by the other boys with shouts 
of laughter, and the keeper turned away with a grunt, but 
evidently bent on mischief. The boys thought no more of 
the matter. 

But now came on the may-fly season ; the soft, hazy 
summer weather lay sleepily along the rich meadows by 
Avon side, and the green and grey flies flickered with their 
graceful lazy up-and-down flight over the reeds and the 
water and the meadows, in myriads upon myriads. The 
may-flies must surely be the lotus-eaters of the ephemerae ; 
the happiest, laziest, carelessest fly that dances and dreams 
out his few hours of sunshiny life by English rivers. 

Every little pitiful coarse fish in the Avon was on the 
alert for the flies, and gorging his wretched carcass with 
hundreds daily, the gluttonous rogues ! And every lover of 
the gentle craft was out to avenge the poor may-flies. 

So one fine Thursday afternoon, Tom, having borrowed 
East's new rod, started by himself to the river. He fished 
for some time with small success : not a fish would rise at 
him ; but, as he prowled along the bank, he was presently 
aware of mighty ones feeding in a pool on the opposite side, 
under the shade of a huge willow-tree. The stream was deep 
here, but some fifty yards below was a shallow, for which 



he made off hot-foot ; and forgetting landlords, keepers, 
solemn prohibitions of the Doctor, and everything else, pulled 
up his trousers, plunged across, and in three minutes was 
creeping along on all-fours towards the clump of willows. 

It is n't often that great chub, or any other coarse fish, 
are in earnest about anything, but just then they were thor- 
oughly bent on feeding, and in half an hour Master Tom 
had deposited three thumping fellows at the foot of the 
giant willow. As he was baiting for a fourth pounder, and 
just going to throw in again, he became aware of a man 
coming up the bank not one hundred yards off. Another 
look told him that it was the under-keeper. Could he reach 
the shallow before him .? No, not carrying his rod. Noth- 
ing for it but the tree, so Tom laid his bones to it, shinning 
up as fast as he could, and dragging up his rod after him. 
He had just time to reach and crouch along upon a huge 
branch some ten feet up, which stretched out over the river, 
when the keeper arrived at the clump. Tom's heart beat 
fast as he came under the tree ; two steps more and he 
would have passed, when, as ill-luck would have it, the 
gleam on the scales of the dead fish caught his eye, and 
he made a dead point at the foot of the tree. He picked 
up the fish one by one ; his eye and touch told him that 
they had been alive and feeding within the hour. Tom 
crouched lower along the branch, and heard the keeper 
beating the clump. ' If I could only get the rod hidden,' 
thought he, and began gently shifting it to get it alongside 
him ; ' willow-trees don't throw out straight hickory shoots 
twelve feet long, with no leaves, worse luck.' Alas ! the 
keeper catches the rustle, and then a sight of the rod, and 
then of Tom's hand and arm. 

[231 ] 


* Oh, be up ther' be 'ee ? ' says he, running under the 
tree. ' Now you come down this minute.' 

' Tree'd at last,' thinks Tom, making no answer, and 
keeping as close as possible, but working away at the rod, 
which he takes to pieces : ' I'm in for it, unless I can 
starve him out.' And then he begins to meditate getting 
along the branch for a plunge, and scramble to the other 
side ; but the small branches are so thick, and the opposite 
bank so difficult, that the keeper will have lots of time 
to get round by the ford before he can get out, so he 
gives that up. And now he hears the keeper beginning 
to scramble up the trunk. That will never do ; so he 
scrambles himself back to where his branch joins the 
trunk, and stands with lifted rod. 

' Hullo, Velveteens, mind your fingers if you come 
any higher.' 

The keeper stops and looks up, and then with a grin 
says, ' Oh ! be you, be it, young measter ? Well, here 's 
luck. Now I tells 'ee to come down at once, and 't '11 
be best for 'ee.' 

'Thank 'ee, Velveteens, I'm very comfortable,' said Tom, 
shortening the rod in his hand, and preparing for battle. 

' Werry well, please yourself, ' says the keeper, descend- 
ing, however, to the ground again, and taking his seat on 
the bank ; ' I bean't in no hurry, so you may take your 
time. I '11 larn 'ee to gee honest folk names afore I 've 
done with 'ee.' 

'My luck as usual,' thinks Tom; 'what a fool I was 
to give him a black. If I'd called him "keeper" now, I 
might get off. The return match is all his way.' ' 

The keeper quietly proceeded to take out his pipe, fill, 


\, ^ 



and light it, keeping an eye on Tom, who now sat dis- 
consolately across the branch, looking at keeper — a pitiful 
sight for men and fishes. The more he thought of it the 
less he liked it. ' It must be getting near second calling- 
over,' thinks he. Keeper smokes on stolidly. ' If he takes 
me up, I shall be flogged safe enough. I can't sit here 
all night. Wonder if he '11 rise at silver. 

' I say, keeper,' said he meekly, * let me go for two bob ? ' 

'Not for twenty neither,' grunts his persecutor. 

And so they sat on till long past second calling-over, 
and the sun came slanting in through the willow-branches, 
and telling of locking-up near at hand. 

'I'm coming down, keeper,' said Tom at last with a 
sigh, fairly tired out. ' Now what are you going to do .? ' 

' Walk 'ee up to School, and give 'ee over to the 
Doctor ; them 's my orders,' says Velveteens, knocking 
the ashes out of his fourth pipe, and standing up and 
shaking himself. 

'Very good,' said Tom; 'but hands off, you know. I '11 
go with you quietly, so no collaring or that sort of thing.' 

Keeper looked at him a minute — ' Werry good,' said 
he at last ; and so Tom descended, and wended his way 
drearily by the side of the keeper up to the School-house, 
where they arrived just at lockirtg-up. As they passed 
the School-gates, the Tadpole and several others who were 
standing there, caught the state of things, and rushed out, 
crying ' Rescue ! ' but Tom shook his head, so they only 
followed to the Doctor's gate, and went back sorely puzzled. 

How changed and stern the Doctor seemed from the 
last time that Tom was up there, as the keeper told the 
story, not omitting to state how Tom had called him 



blackguard names! 'Indeed, sir,' broke in the culprit, 'it 
was only Velveteens.' The Doctor only asked one question. 

' You know the rule about the banks. Brown ? ' 

'Yes, sir.' 

'Then wait for me to-morrow, after first lesson.' 

' I thought so,' muttered Tom. 

* And about the rod, sir .? ' went on the keeper ; ' Master 's 
told we as we might have all the rods — ' 

'Oh, please, sir,' broke in Tom, 'the rod isn't mine.' 
The Doctor looked puzzled, but the keeper, who was a 
good-hearted fellow, and melted at Tom's evident distress, 
gave up his claim. Tom was flogged next morning, and a 
few days afterwards met Velveteens, and presented him with 
half a crown for giving up the rod claim, and they became 
sworn friends ; and I regret to say that Tom had many 
more fish under the willow that may-fly season, and was 
never caught again by Velveteens. 

It was n't three weeks before Tom, and now East by 
his side, were again in the awful presence. This time, 
however, the Doctor was not so terrible. A few days 
before they had been fagged at fives to fetch the balls that 
went off the Court. While standing watching the game, 
they saw five or six nearly new balls hit on the top of the 
school. ' I say, Tom,' said East, when they were dismissed, 
' could n't we get those balls somehow ? ' 

' Let 's try, anyhow.' 

So they reconnoitred the walls carefully, borrowed a 
coal-hammer from old Stumps, bought some big nails, and 
after one or two attempts scaled the schools, and possessed 
themselves of huge quantities of fives-balls. The place 
pleased them so much that they spent all their spare time 



there, scratching and cutting their names on the top of 
every tower ; and at last, having exhausted all other places, 
finished up with inscribing H, East, T. Brown, on the 
minute-hand of the great clock, in the doing of which they 
held the minute-hand, and disturbed the clock's economy. 
So next morning, when masters and boys came trooping 
down to prayers, and entered the quadrangle, the injured 
minute hand was indicating three minutes to the hour. 
They all pulled up, and took their time. When the hour 
struck, doors were closed, and half the school late. Thomas 
being set to make inquiry, discovers their names on the 
minute-hand, and reports accordingly ; and they are sent 
for, a knot of their friends making derisive and pantomimic 
allusions to what their fate will be, as they walk off. 

But the Doctor, after hearing their story, doesn't make 
much of it, and only gives them thirty lines of Homer to 
learn by heart, and a lecture on the likelihood of such 
exploits ending in broken bones. 

Alas ! almost the next day was one of the great fairs 
in the town ; and as several rows and other disagreeable 
accidents had of late taken place on these occasions, the 
Doctor gives out, after prayers in the morning, that no 
boy is to go down into the town. Wherefore East and 
Tom, for no earthly pleasure except that of doing what 
they are told not to do, start away, after second lesson, 
and making a short circuit through the fields, strike a 
back lane which leads into the town, go down it, and run 
plump upon one of the masters as they emerge into the 
High Street. The master in question, though a very 
clever, is not a righteous man : he has already caught 
several of his own pupils, and gives them lines to learn, 

[ -^36 ] 


while he sends East and Tom, who are not his pupils, up 
to the Doctor ; who, on learning that they had been at 
prayers in the morning, flogs them soundly. 

The flogging did them no good at the time, for the in- 
justice of their captor was rankling in their minds ; but it 
was just the end of the half, and on the next evening 
but one Thomas knocks at 
their door, and says the. 
Doctor wants to see them. 
They look at one another 
in silent dismay. What can 
it be now .'' Which of their 
countless wrong-doings can 
he have heard of officially ? 
However, it 's no use delay- 
ing, so up they go to the 
study. There they find the 
Doctor, not angry, but very 
grave. ' He has sent for 
them to speak very seriously 
before they go home. They 
have each been flogged 
several times in the half- 
year for direct and wilful 

breaches of rules. This cannot go on. They are doing no 
good to themselves or others, and now they are getting up 
in the School, and have influence. They seem to think that 
rules are made capriciously, and for the pleasure of the 
masters ; but this is not so : they are made for the good of 
the whole School, and must and shall be obeyed. Those 
who thoughtlessly or wilfully break them will not be allowed 







to stay at the School, He should be sorry if they had to 
leave, as the School might do them both much good, and 
wishes them to think very seriously in the holidays over 
what he has said. Good night.' 

And so the two hurry off horribly scared : the idea of 
having to leave has never crossed their minds, and is quite 

As they go out, they meet at the door old Holmes, a 
sturdy, cheery praepostor of another house, who goes in to 
the Doctor ; and they hear his genial, hearty greeting of 
the new-comer, so different to their own reception, as the 
door closes, and return to their study with heavy hearts, 
and tremendous resolves to break no more rules. 

Five minutes afterwards the master of their form, a late 
arrival and a model young master, knocks at the Doctor's 
study-door. ' Come in ! ' and as he enters the Doctor goes 
on to Holmes — ' you see I do not know anything of the 
case officially, and if I take any notice of it at all, I must 
publicly expel the boy. I don't wish to do that, for I think 
there is some good in him. There 's nothing for it but a 
good sound thrashing.' He paused to shake hands with the 
master, which Holmes does also, and then prepares to leave. 

' I understand. Good night, sir.' 

' Good night, Holmes. And remember,' added the Doctor, 
emphasizing the words, ' a good sound thrashing before the 
whole house.' 

The door closed on Holmes ; and the Doctor, in answer 
to the puzzled look of his lieutenant, explained shortly. 'A 
gross case of bullying, Wharton, the head of the house, 
is a very good fellow, but slight and weak, and severe 
physical pain is the only way to deal with such a case ; so 



I have asked Holmes to take it up. He is very careful 
and trustworthy, and has plenty of strength. I wish all 
the sixth had as much. We must have it here, if we are 
to keep order at all.' 

Now I don't want any wiseacres to read this book ; but 
if they should, of course they will prick up their long ears, 
and howl, or rather bray, at the above story. Very good, I 
don't object ; but what I have to add for you boys is this, 
that Holmes called a le\y of his house after breakfast next 
morning, made them a speech on the case of bullying in 
question, and then gave the bully a ' good sound thrashing ' ; 
and that years afterwards, that boy sought out Holmes, and 
thanked him, saying it had been the kindest act which had 
ever been done upon him, and the turning-point in his 
character ; and a very good fellow he became, and a credit 
to his School. 

After some other talk between them, the Doctor said, 
' I want to speak to you about two boys in your form. East 
and Brown : I have just been speaking to them. What do 
you think of them ? ' 

'Well, they are not hard workers, and very thoughtless, 
and full of spirits — but I can't help liking them. I think 
they are sound good fellows at the bottom.' 

'I'm glad of it. I think so too. But they make me very 
uneasy. They are taking the lead a good deal amongst the 
fags in my house, for they are very active, bold fellows. I 
should be sorry to lose them, but I shan't let them stay if 
I don't see them gaining character and manliness. In an- 
other year they may do great harm to all the younger boys.' 

'Oh, I hope you won't send them away,' pleaded their 



* Not if I can help it. But now I never feel sure, after 
any half-holiday, that I shan't have to flog one of them 
next morning, for some foolish, thoughtless scrape. I quite 
dread seeing either of them.' 

They were both silent for a minute. Presently the Doctor 
began again : 

' They don't feel that they have any duty or work to do 
in the School, and how is one to make them feel it .-' ' 

' I think if either of them had some little boy to take 
care of, it would steady them. Brown is the most reckless 
of the two, I should say ; East would n't get into so many 
scrapes without him.' 

'Well,' said the Doctor, with something like a sigh, * I '11 
think of it.' And they went on to talk of other subjects. 


Vo one cfear fmxp In cfiverj tones, I 
"Dfia-t mer) mo-xj rLse on stepfiiTL^-storves 
Of ffteCr cfead sefhej to /^<^/ier f/?m^x.' 


' Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide. 
In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side : 

Then it is the brave man chooses, zvhile the cozvard stands aside. 
Doubting in his abject spirit, till his Lord is crucified.^ 


HE turning-point in our hero's school 
career had now come, and the manner 
of it was as follows. On the evening of 
the first day of the next half-year, Tom, 
East, and another School-house boy, who 
had just been dropped at the Spread 
Eagle by the old Regulator, rushed into the matron's room 
in high spirits, such as all real boys are in when they first 
get back, however fond they may be of home. 

'Well, Mrs, Wixie,' shouted one, seizing on the method- 
ical, active little, dark-eyed woman, who was busy stowing 

[241 ] 


away the linen of the boys who had already arrived into 
their several pigeon-holes, ' here we are again, you see, as 
jolly as ever. Let us help you put the things away.' 

'And, Mary,' cried another (she was called indifferently 
by either name), ' who 's come back ? Has the Doctor 
made old Jones leave ? How many new boys are there .'' ' 

' Am I and East to have Gray's study ? You know you 
promised to get it for us if you could,' shouted Tom. 

' And am I to sleep in Number 4 ? ' roared East. 

* How 's old Sam, and Bogle, and Sally } ' 

' Bless the boys ! ' cries Mary, at last getting in a word, 
' why, you '11 shake me to death. There, now do go away 
up to the housekeeper's room and get your suppers ; you 
know I haven't time to talk — you'll find plenty more in 
the house. Now, Master East, do let those things alone — 
you 're mixing up three new boys' things.' And she rushed 
at East, who escaped round the open trunks holding up 
a prize. 

'Hullo, look here, Tommy,' shouted he, 'here's fun!' 
and he brandished above his head some pretty little night- 
caps, beautifully made and marked, the work of loving 
fingers in some distant country home. The kind mother 
and sisters, who sewed that delicate stitching with aching 
hearts, little thought of the trouble they might be bringing 
on the young head for which they were meant. The little 
matron was wiser, and snatched the caps from East before 
he could look at the name on them. 

' Now, Master East, I shall be very angry if you don't 
go,' said she; 'there's some capital cold beef and pickles 
upstairs, and I won't have you old boys in my room first 

[ 242 ] 





' Hurrah for the pickles ! Come along, Tommy ; come 
along, Smith. We shall find out who the young Count is, 
I '11 be bourid : I hope he '11 sleep in my room. Mary 's 
always vicious first week.' 

As the boys turned to leave the room, the matron touched 
Tom's arm, and said, ' Master Brown, please stop a minute, 
I want to speak to you.' 

* Very well, Mary. I '11 come in a minute, East ; don't 
finish the pickles — ' 

' Oh, Master Brown,' went on the little matron, when the 
rest had gone, ' you 're to have Gray's study, Mrs. Arnold 
says. And she wants you to take in this young gentleman. 
He 's a new boy, and thirteen years old, though he don't 
look it. He 's very delicate, and has never been from home 
before. And I told Mrs. Arnold I thought you 'd be kind 
to him, and see that they don't bully him at first. He 's 
put into your form, and I 've given him the bed next to 
yours in Number 4 ; so East can't sleep there this half.' 

Tom was rather put about by this speech. He had got 
the double study which he coveted, but here were condi- 
tions attached which greatly moderated his joy. He looked 
across the room, and in the far corner of the sofa was aware 
of a slight pale boy, with large blue eyes and light fair hair, 
who seemed ready to shrink through the floor. He saw at 
a glance that the little stranger was just the boy whose first 
half-year at a public school would be misery to himself if he 
were left alone, or constant anxiety to any one who meant 
to see him through his troubles. Tom was too honest to 
take in the youngster and then let him shift for himself ; 
and if he took him as his chum instead of East, where 
were all his pet plans of having a bottled-beer cellar under 



his window, and making night-lines and sHngs, and plotting 
expeditions to Brownsover Mills and Caldecott's Spinney ? 
East and he had made up their minds to get this study, 
and then every night from locking-up till ten they would 
be together to talk about fishing, drink bottled beer, read 
Marryat's novels, and sort birds' eggs. And this new boy 
would most likely never go out of the close, and would be 
afraid of wet feet, and always getting laughed at, and called 
Molly, or Jenny, or some derogatory feminine nick-name. 

The matron watched him for a moment, and saw what 
was passing in his mind, and so, like a wise negotiator, 
threw in an appeal to his warm heart. ' Poor little fellow,' 
said she in almost a whisper, ' his father 's dead, and he 's 
got no brothers. And his mamma, such a kind sweet 
lady, almost broke her heart at leaving him this morning ; 
and she said one of his sisters was like to die of decline, 
and so — ' 

'Well, well,' burst in Tom, with something like a sigh at 
the effort, ' I suppose I must give up East. Come along, 
young un. What's your name.? We'll go and have some 
supper, and then I '11 show you our study.' 

' His name 's George Arthur,' said the matron, walking 
up to him with Tom, who grasped his little delicate hand 
as the proper preliminary to making a chum of him, and 
felt as if he could have blown him away. ' I 've had his 
books and things put into the study, which his mamma has 
had new papered, and the sofa covered, and new green- 
baize curtains over the door ' (the diplomatic matron threw 
this in, to show that the new boy was contributing largely 
to the partnership comforts). 'And Mrs. Arnold told mc to 
say,' she added, 'that she should like you both to come up 



to tea with her. You know the way, Master Brown, and 
the things are just gone up, I know.' 

Here was an announcement for Master Tom ! He was 
to go up to tea the first night, just as if he were a sixth- 
or fifth-form boy, and of importance in the school world, 
instead of the most reckless young scapegrace amongst the 
fags. He felt himself lifted on to a higher social and moral 
platform at once. Nevertheless, he could n't give up with- 
out a sigh the idea of the jolly supper in the housekeeper's 
room with East and the rest, and a rush round to all the 
studies of his friends afterwards, to pour out the deeds and 
wonders of the holidays, to plot fifty plans for the coming 
half-year, and to gather news of who had left, and what 
new boys had come, who had got who's study, and where 
the new praepostors slept. However, Tom consoled himself 
with thinking that he couldn't have done all this with the 
new boy at his heels, and so marched off along the pas- 
sages to the Doctor's private house with his young charge 
in tow, in monstrous good-humour with himself and all 
the world. 

It is needless, and would be impertinent, to tell how 
the two young boys were received in that drawing-room. 
The lady who presided there is still living, and has carried 
with her to her peaceful home in the North the respect and 
love of all those who ever felt and shared that gentle and 
high-bred hospitality. Aye, many is the brave heart now 
doing its work and bearing its load in country curacies, 
London chambers, under the Indian sun, and in Australian 
towns and clearings, which looks back with fond and grateful 
memory' to that School-house drawing-room, and dates much 
of its highest and best training to the lessons learnt there. 



Besides Mrs. Arnold and one or two of the elder children, 
there were one of the younger masters, young Brooke, who 
was now in the sixth, and had succeeded to his brother's 
position and influence, and another sixth-form boy there, 
talking together before the fire. The master and young 
Brooke, now a great strapping fellow six feet high, eighteen 
years old, and powerful as a coal-heaver, nodded kindly to 
Tom, to his intense glory, and then went on talking ; the 
other did not notice them. The hostess, after a few kind 
words, which led the boys at once and insensibly to feel at 
their ease, and to begin talking to one another, left them 
with her own children while she finished a letter. The 
young ones got on fast and well, Tom holding forth about 
a prodigious pony he had been riding out hunting, and 
hearing stories of the winter glories of the lakes, when tea 
came in, and immediately after the Doctor himself. 

How frank, and kind, and manly, was his greeting to the 
party by the fire ! It did Tom's heart good to see him and 
young Brooke shake hands, and look one another in the 
face; and he didn't fail to remark that Brooke was nearly 
as tall, and quite as broad as the Doctor. And his cup was 
full, when in another moment his master turned to him 
with another warm shake of the hand, and, seemingly obliv- 
ious of all the late scrapes which he had been getting into, 
said, ' Ah, Brown, you here ! I hope you left your father 
and all well at home ? ' 

' Yes, sir, quite well.' 

'And this is the little fellow who is to share your study. 
Well, he doesn't look as we should Hke to see him. 
He wants some Rugby air, and cricket. And you must 
take him some good long walks, to Bilton Grange, and 



Caldecott's Spinney, and show him what a Httle pretty 
country we have about here.' 

Tom wondered if the Doctor knew that his visits to Bil- 
ton Grange were for the purpose of taking rooks' nests (a 
proceeding strongly discountenanced by the owner thereof), 
and those to Caldecott's Spinney were prompted chiefly by 
the conveniences for setting night-lines. What did n't the 
Doctor know ? And what a noble use he always made of it ! 
He almost resolved to abjure rook-pies and night-lines for 
ever. The tea went merrily off, the Doctor now talking of 
holiday doings, and then of the prospects of the half-year, 
what chance there was for the Balliol scholarship, whether 
the eleven would be a good one. Everybody was at his 
ease, and ever)^body felt that he, young as he might be, was 
of some use in the little School world, and had a work to 
do there. 

Soon after tea the Doctor went off to his study, and the 
young boys a few minutes afterwards took their leave, and 
went out of the private door which led from the Doctor's 
house into the middle passage. 

At the fire, at the further end of the passage, was a 
crowd of boys in loud talk and laughter. There was a 
sudden pause when the door opened, and then a great 
shout of greeting, as Tom was recognized marching down 
the passage. 

* Hullo, Brown, where do you come from ? ' 

•Oh, I 've been to tea with the Doctor,' says Tom, with 
great dignity. 

' My eye ! ' cried East. ' Oh ! so that 's why Mary called 
you back, and you did n't come to supper. You lost some- 
thing — that beef and pickles was no end good.' 



' I say, young fellow,' cried Hall, detecting Arthur, and 
catching him by the collar, ' what 's your name ? Where do 
you come from ? How old are you ? 

Tom saw Arthur shrink back, and look scared as all the 
group turned to him, but thought it best to let him answer, 
just standing by his side to support in case of need, 

' Arthur, sir. I come from Devonshire.' 

' Don't call me "sir," you young muff. How old are you.^ ' 


' Can you sing } ' 

The poor boy was trembling and hesitating. Tom struck 
in — 'You be hanged. Tadpole. He '11 have to sing, whether 
he can or not, Saturday twelve weeks, and that 's long 
enough off yet.' 

' Do you know him at home. Brown ? ' 

' No ; but he 's my chum in Gray's old study, and it 's 
near prayer time, and I have n't had a look at it yet. Come 
along, Arthur.' 

Away went the two, Tom longing to get his charge safe 
under cover, where he might advise him on his deportment. 

'What a queer chum for Tom Brown,' was the comment 
at the fire ; and it must be confessed so thought Tom 
himself, as he lighted his candle, and surveyed the new 
green-baize curtains and the carpet and sofa with much 

' I say, Arthur, what a brick your mother is to make us 
so cosy. But look here now, you must answer straight up 
when the fellows speak to you, and don't be afraid. If 
you 're afraid, you '11 get bullied. And don't you say you 
can sing ; and don't you ever talk about home, or your 
mother and sisters.' 



Poor little Arthur looked ready to cry. 

' But please,' said he, ' mayn't I talk about — about home 
to you ? ' 

' Oh, yes, I like it. But don't talk to boys you don't 
know, or they '11 call you homesick, or mamma's darling, or 
some such stuff. What a jolly desk ! Is that yours ? And 
what stunning binding ! Why, your school-books look like 

And Tom was soon deep in Arthur's goods and chattels, 
all new, and good enough for a fifth-form boy, and hardly 
thought of his friends outside till the prayer-bell rung. 

I have already described the School-house prayers ; they 
were the same on the first night as on the other nights, 
save for the gaps caused by the absence of those boys who 
came late, and the line of new boys who stood all together 
at the further table — of all sorts and sizes, like young 
bears with all their troubles to come, as Tom's father had 
said to him when he was in the same position. He thought 
of it as he looked at the line, and poor little slight Arthur 
standing with them, and as he was leading him upstairs to 
Number 4, directly after prayers, and showing him his bed. 
It was a huge, high, airy room, with two large windows 
looking on to the School close. There were twelve beds in 
the room, the one in the furthest corner by the fireplace 
occupied by the sixth-form boy who was responsible for the 
discipline of the room, and the rest by boys in the lower- 
fifth and other junior forms, all fags (for the fifth-form 
boys, as has been said, slept in rooms by themselves). 
Being fags, the eldest of them was not more than about 
sixteen years old, and were all bound to be up and in bed 
by ten ; the sixth-form boys came to bed from ten to a 



quarter-past (at which time the old verger came round to 
put the candles out), except when they sat up to read. 

Within a few minutes, therefore, of their entry, all the 
other boys who slept in Number 4 had come up. The 
little fellows went quietly to their own beds, and began 
undressing and talking to each other in whispers ; while 
the elder, amongst whom was Tom, sat chatting about on 
one another's beds, with their jackets and waistcoats off. 
Poor little Arthur was overwhelmed with the novelty of his 
position. The idea of sleeping in the room with strange 
boys had clearly never crossed his mind before, and was 
as painful as it was strange to him. He could hardly bear 
to take his jacket off ; however, presently, with an effort, 
off it came, and then he paused and looked at Tom, who 
was sitting at the bottom of his bed talking and laughing. 

'Please, Brown,' he whispered, 'may I wash my face 
and hands ? ' 

'Of course, if you like,' said Tom, staring; 'that's your 
washhand-stand, under the window, second from your bed. 
You '11 have to go down for more water in the morning 
if you use it all.' And on he went with his talk, while 
Arthur stole timidly from between the beds out to his 
washhand-stand, and began his ablutions, thereby drawing 
for a moment on himself the attention of the room. 

On went the talk and laughter. Arthur finished his 
washing and undressing, and put on his night-gown. He 
then looked round more nervously than ever. Two or 
three of the little boys were already in bed, sitting up 
with their chins on their knees. The light burned clear, 
the noise went on. It was a trying moment foj;^the poor 
little lonely boy ; however, this time he did n't ask Tom 


what he might or might not do, but dropped on his knees 
l)y his bedside, as he had done every day from his child- 
hood, to open his heart to Him who heareth the cry and 
beareth the sorrows of the tender child, and the strong 
man in agony. 

Tom was sitting at the bottom of his bed unlacing his 
boots, so that his back was towards Arthur, and he did n't 
see what had happened, and looked up in wonder at the 
sudden silence. Then two or three boys laughed and 
sneered, and a big brutal fellow, who was standing in the 
middle of the room, picked up a slipper, and shied it at 
the kneeling boy, calling him a snivelling young shaver. 
Then Tom saw the whole, and the next moment the boot 
he had just pulled off flew straight at the head of the 
bully, who had just time to throw up his arm and catch it 
on his elbow. 

* Confound you. Brown, what 's that for ? ' roared he, 
stamping with pain. 

' Never mind what I mean,' said Tom, stepping on to 
the floor, every drop of blood in his body tingling ; ' if any 
fellow wants the other boot, he knows how to get it.' 
' What would have been the result is doubtful, for at 
this moment the sixth-form boy came in, and not another 
word could be said. Tom and the rest rushed into bed 
and finished their unrobing there, and the old verger, as 
punctual as the clock, had put out the candle in another 
minute, and toddled on to the next room, shutting their 
door with his usual ' Good night, genl'm'n.' 

There were many boys in the room by whom that little 
scene was taken to heart before they slept. But sleep 
seemed to have deserted the pillow of poor Tom. For 





some time his excitement, and the flood of memories which 
chased one another through his brain, kept him from think- 
ing or resolving. His head tlirobbed, his heart leapt, and 
he could hardly keep himself from springing out of bed 
and rushing about the room. Then the thought of his own 



mother came across him, and the promise he had made at 
her knee, years ago, never to forget to kneel by his bedside, 
and give himself up to his Father, before he laid his head 
on the pillow, from which he might never rise ; and he lay 
down gently and cried as if his heart would break. He was 
only fourteen years old. 

It was no light act of courage in those days, my dear 
boys, for a little fellow to say his prayers publicly, even at 
Rugby. A few years later, when Arnold's manly piety had 
begun to leaven the School, the tables turned ; before he 
died, in the School-house at least, and I believe in the other 
houses, the rule was the other way. But poor Tom had 
come to school in other times. The first few nights after 
he came he did not kneel down because of the noise, but 
sat up in bed till the candle was out, and then stole out 
and said his prayers, in fear lest some one should find him 
out. So did many another poor little fellow. Then he began 
to think that he might just as well say his prayers in bed, 
and then that it didn't matter whether he was kneeling, or 
sitting, or lying down. And so it had come to pass with 
Tom, as with all who will not confess their Lord before 
men ; and for the last year he had probably not said his 
prayers in earnest a dozen times. 

Poor Tom ! the first and bitterest feeling which was like 
to break his heart was the sense of his own cowardice. The 
vice of all others which he loathed was brought in and 
burned in on his own soul. He had lied to his mother, to 
his conscience, to his God. How could he bear it ? And then 
the poor little weak boy, whom he had pitied and almost 
scorned for his weakness, had done that which he, brag- 
gart as he was, dared not do. The first dawn of comfort 



came to him in swearing to himself that he would stand 
by that boy through thick and thin, and cheer him, and 
help him, and bear his burdens, for the good deed done 
that night. Then he resolved to write home next day and 
tell his mother all, and what a coward her son had been. 
And then peace came to him as he resolved, lastly, to bear 
his testimony next morning. The morning would be harder 
than the night to begin with, but he felt that he could not 
afford to let one chance slip. Several times he faltered, for 
the devil showed him first, all his old friends calling him 
'Saint' and 'Square-toes,' and a dozen hard names, and 
whispered to him that his motives would be misunderstood, 
and he would only be left alone with the new boy ; whereas 
it was his duty to keep all means of influence, that he might 
do good to the largest number. And then came the more 
subtle temptation, ' Shall I not be showing myself braver 
than others by doing this ? Have I any right to begin it 
now ? Ought I not rather to pray in my own study, letting 
other boys know that I do so, and trying to lead them to 
it, while in public at least I should go on as I have done ? ' 
However, his good angel was too strong that night, and he 
turned on his side and slept, tired of trying to reason, but 
resolved to follow the impulse which had been so strong, 
and in which he had found peace. 

Next morning he was up and washed and dressed, all but 
his jacket and waistcoat, just as the ten minutes bell began 
to ring, and then in the face of the whole room knelt down 
to pray. Not five words could he say — the bell mocked 
him ; he was listening for every whisper in the room — what 
were they all thinking of him ? He was ashamed to go on 
kneeling, ashamed to rise from his knees. At last, as it 



were from his inmost heart, a still small voice seemed to 
breathe forth the words of the publican, ' God be merciful 
to me a sinner ! ' He repeated them over and over, cling- 
ing to them as for his life, and rose from his knees com- 
forted and humbled, and ready to face the whole world. It 
was not needed : two other boys besides Arthur had already 
followed his example, and he went down to the great School 
with a glimmering of another lesson in his heart — the les- 
son that he who has conquered his own coward spirit has 
conquered the whole outward world ; and that other one which 
the old prophet learnt in the cave in Mount Horeb, when 
he hid his face and the still small voice asked, * What doest 
thou here, Elijah ? ' that however we may fancy ourselves 
alone on the side of good, the King and Lord of men is 
nowhere without His witnesses ; for in every society, how- 
ever seemingly corrupt and Godless, there are those who 
have not bowed the knee to Baal, 

He found, too, how greatly he had exaggerated the effect 
to be produced by his act. For a few nights there was a 
sneer or a laugh when he knelt down, but this passed off 
soon, and one by one all the other boys but three or four 
followed the lead. I fear that this was in some measure 
owing to the fact that Tom could probably have thrashed any 
boy in the room except the praepostor ; at any rate, every 
boy knew that he would try upon very slight provocation, 
and didn't choose to iTin the risk of a hard fight because 
Tom Brown had taken a fancy to say his prayers. Some of 
the small boys of Number 4 communicated the new state of 
things to their chums, and in several other rooms the poor 
little fellows tried it on ; in one instance or so, where the 
praepostor heard of it and interfered very decidedly, with 


THE L I 1! R A R Y 


partial success ; but in the rest, after a short struggle, the 
confessors were bullied or laughed down, and the old state 
of things went on for some time longer. Before either Tom 
Brown or Arthur left the School-house there was no room 
in which it had not become the regular custom. I trust 
it is so still, and that the old heathen state of things has 
gone out for ever. 





' And Heave7i' s rich instincts in him grezv 
As effortless as zcoodland nooks 
Send violets up and paint them blue. ' 


DO NOT mean to recount all the little 
troubles and annoyances which thronged 
upon Tom at the beginning of this half- 
year, in this new character of bear-leader 
to a gentle little boy straight from home. 
He seemed to himself to have become a 
new boy again, without any of the long-suffering and 
meekness indispensable for supporting that character with 
moderate success. From morning till night he had the 
feeling of responsibility on his mind ; and even if he left 
Arthur in their study or in the close for an hour, was 
never at ease till he had him in sight again. He waited 



for him at the doors of the school after every lesson and 
every calling-over ; watched that no tricks were played him, 
and none but the regulation questions asked ; kept his 
eye on his plate at dinner and breakfast, to see that no 
unfair depredations were made upon his viands ; in short, 
as East remarked, cackled after him like a hen with one 

Arthur took a long time thawing, too, which made it 
all the harder work ; was sadly timid ; scarcely ever spoke 
unless Tom spoke to him first ; and, worst of all, would 
agree with him in ever)'thing, the hardest thing in the 
world for a Brown to bear. He got quite angry sometimes, 
as they sat together of a night in their study, at this pro- 
voking habit of agreement, and was on the point of break- 
ing out a dozen times with a lecture upon the propriety of 
a fellow having a will of his own and speaking out ; but 
managed to restram himself by the thought that it might 
only frighten Arthur, and the remembrance of the lesson 
he had learnt from him on his first night at Number 4. 
Then he would resolve to sit still, and not say a word till 
Arthur began ; but he was always beat at that game, and 
had presently to begin talking in despair, fearing lest Arthur 
might think he was vexed at something if he did n't, and 
dog-tired of sitting tongue-tied. 

It was hard work ! But Tom had taken it up, and meant 
to stick to it, and go through with it, so as to satisfy him- 
self ; in which resolution he was much assisted by the 
chaffing of East and his other old friends, who began to 
call him 'dry-nurse,' and otherwise to break their small wit 
on him. But when they took other ground, as they did 
every now and then, Tom was sorely puzzled. 



'Tell you what, Tommy,' East would say, 'you'll spoil 
young Hopeful with too much coddling. Why can't you let 
him go about by himself and find his own level ? He '11 
never be worth a button, if you go on keeping him under 
your skirts.' 

'Well, but he ain't fit to fight his own way yet; I'm 
trying to get him to it every day — but he 's very odd. 
Poor little beggar ! I can't make him out a bit. He ain't 
a bit like anything I 've ever seen or heard of — he seems 
all over nerves ; anything you say seems to hurt him like 
a cut or a blow.' 

'That sort of boy's no use here,' said East, 'he'll only 
spoil. Now, I '11 tell you what to do, Tommy. Go and get 
a nice large band-box made, and put him in with plenty of 
cotton-wool, and a pap-bottle, labelled "With care — this 
side up," and send him back to mamma.' 

' I think I shall make a hand of him though,' said Tom, 
smiling, ' say what you will. There 's something about him, 
every now and then, which shows me he 's got pluck some- 
where in him. That 's the only thing after all that '11 wash, 
ain't it, old Scud ? But how to get at it and bring it out ? ' 

Tom took one hand out of his breeches-pocket and stuck 
it in his back hair for a scratch, giving his hat a tilt over 
his nose, his one method of invoking wisdom. He stared 
at the ground with a ludicrously puzzled look, and presently 
looked up and met East's eyes. That young gentleman 
slapped him on the back, and then put his arm round his 
shoulder, as they strolled through the quadrangle together. 
'Tom,' said he, 'blest if you ain't the best old fellow ever 
was — I do like to see you go into a thing. Hang it, I 
wish I could take things as you do — but I never can get 



higher than a joke. Everything's a joke. If I was going 
to be flogged next minute, I should be in a blue funk, but 
I could n't help laughing at it for the life of me.' 

' Brown and East, you go and fag for Jones on the great 

* Hullo, though, that 's past a joke,' broke out East, 
springing at the young gentleman who addressed them, and 
catching him by the collar. ' Here, Tommy, catch hold of 
him t'other side before he can holla.' 

The youth was seized, and dragged struggling out of 
the quadrangle into the School-house hall. He was one 
of the miserable little pretty white-handed, curly-headed 
boys, petted and pampered by some of the big fellows, who 
wrote their verses for them, taught them to drink and use 
bad language, and did all they could to spoil them for every- 
thing * in this world and the next. One of the avocations 
in which these young gentlemen took particular delight was 
in going about and getting fags for their protectors, when 
those heroes were playing any game. They carried about 
pencil and paper with them, putting down the names of all 
the boys they sent, always sending five times as many as 
were wanted, and getting all those thrashed who did n't go. 
The present youth belonged to a house which was very 
jealous of the School-house, and always picked out School- 
house fags when he could find them. However, this time 
he'd got the wTong sow by the ear. His captors slammed 
the great door of the hall, and East put his back against 

*A kind and wise critic, an old Rugbeian, notes here in the margin : 
The 'small friend system was not so utterly bad from 1841-1847.' Before 
that, too, there were many noble friendships between big and little boys, 
but I can't strike out the passage ; many boys will know why it is left in. 



it, while Tom gave the prisoner a shake-up, took away his 
hst, and stood liim up on the floor, while he proceeded 
leisurely to examine that document. 

' Let me out, let me go ! ' screamed the boy in a furious 
passion. ' I '11 go and tell Jones this minute, and he '11 give 
you both the • thrashing you ever had.' 

' Pretty little dear,' said East, patting the top of his hat; 
' hark how he swears, Tom. Nicely brought-up young man, 
ain't he, I don't think.' 

' Let me alone, you,' roared the boy, foaming with 

rage, and kicking at East, who quietly tripped him up, and 
deposited him on the floor in a place of safety. 

' Gently, young fellow,' said he ; ' 'tain't improving for 
little whippersnappers like you to be indulging in blas- 
phemy ; so you stop that, or you '11 get something you 
won't like.' 

' Lll have you both licked when I get out, that I will,' 
rejoined the boy, beginning to snivel. 

'Two can play .at that game, mind you,' said Tom, who 
had finished his examination of the list. ' Now you just 
listen here. We 've just come across the fives-court, and 
Jones has four fags there already, two more than he wants. 
If he 'd wanted us to change, he 'd have stopped us himself. 
And here, you little blackguard, you 've got seven names 
down on your list besides ours, and five of them School- 
house.' Tom walked up to him and jerked him on to his 
legs ; he was by this time whining like a whipped puppy. 

' Now just listen to me. We ain't going to fag for Jones. 
If you tell him you 've sent us, we '11 each of us give you 
such a thrashing as you '11 remember.' And Tom tore up 
the list and threw the pieces into the fire. 



'And mind you, too,' said East, 'don't let me catch you 
again sneaking about the School-house, and picking up our 
fags. You have n't got the sort of hide to take a sound 
licking kindly ' ; and he opened the door and sent the young 
gentleman flying into the quadrangle, with a parting kick. 

'Nice boy. Tommy,' said East, shoving his hands in his 
pockets and strolling to the fire. 

'Worst sort we breed,' responded Tom, following his 
example. ' Thank goodness, no big fellow ever took to 
petting me.' 

' You 'd never have been like that,' said East. ' I should 
like to have put him in a museum : — Christian young 
gentleman, nineteenth century, highly educated. Stir him 
up with a long pole. Jack, and hear him swear like a 
drunken sailor ! He 'd make a respectable public open its 
eyes, I think.' 

' Think he '11 tell Jones .? ' said Tom. 

'No,' said East. 'Don't care if he does.' 

'Nor I,' said Tom. And they went back to talk about 

The young gentleman had brains enough not to tell 
Jones, reasoning that East and Brown, who were noted as 
some of the toughest fags in the School, would n't care 
three straws for any licking Jones might give them, and 
would be likely to keep their words as to passing it on 
with interest. 

After the above conversation. East came a good deal to 
their study, and took notice of Arthur ; and soon allowed 
to Tom that he was a thorough little gentleman, and would 
get over his shyness all in good time ; which much com- 
forted our hero. He felt every day, too, the value of having 





an object in his life, something that drew him out of himself; 
and, it being the dull time of the year, and no games going 
about which he much cared for, was happier than he had 
ever yet been at school, which was saying a great deal. 

The time which Tom allowed himself away from his 
charge was from locking-up till supper-time. During this 
hour or hour and a half he used to take his fling, going 
round to the studies of all his acquaintance, sparring or 
gossiping in the hall, now jumping the old iron-bound tables, 
or carving a bit of his name on them, then joining in some 
chorus of merry voices ; in fact, blowing off his steam, as 
we should now call it. 

This process was so congenial to his temper, and Arthur 
showed himself so pleased at the arrangement, that it was 
several weeks before Tom was ever in their study before 
supper. One evening, however, he rushed in to look for 
an old chisel, or some corks, or other article essential to 
his pursuit for the time being, and while rummaging about 
in the cupboards, looked up for a moment, and was caught 
at once by the figure of poor little Arthur. The boy was 
sitting with his elbows on the table, and his head leaning 
on his hands, and before him an open book, on which his 
tears were falling fast. Tom shut the door at once, and sat 
down on the sofa by Arthur, putting his arm round his neck. 

' Why, young un ! what 's the matter ? ' said he kindly ; 
'you ain't unhappy, are you.-*' 

* Oh no. Brown,' said the little boy, looking up with the 
great tears in his eyes, 'you are so kind to me, I'm very 

' Why don't you call me Tom ? lots of boys do that I 
don't like half so much as you. What are you reading, 



then ? Hang it, you must come about with me, and not 
mope yourself ' ; and Tom cast down his eyes on the book, 
and saw it was the Bible. He was silent for a minute, and 
thought to himself, 'Lesson Number 2, Tom Brown'; — 
and then said gently — 

♦I'm very glad to see this, Arthur, and ashamed that I 
don't read the Bible more myself. Do you read it every 
night before supper while Lm out.'*' 


' Well, I wish you 'd wait till afterwards, and then we 'd 
read together. But, Arthur, why does it make you cry .? ' 

'Oh, it isn't that Lm unhappy. But at home, while my 
father was alive, we always read the lessons after tea ; and 
I love to read them over now, and try to remember what 
he said about them. I can't remember all, and I think I 
scarcely understand a great deal of what I do remember. 
But it all comes back to me so fresh, that I can't help 
crying sometimes to think I shall never read them again 
with him.' 

Arthur had never spoken of his home before, and Tom 
had n't encouraged him to do so, as his blundering school- 
boy reasoning made him think that Arthur would be soft- 
ened and less manly for thinking of home. But now he 
was fairly interested, and forgot all about chisels and bot- 
tled beer ; while with very little encouragement Arthur 
launched into his home history, and the prayer-bell put 
them both out sadly when it rang to call them to the hall. 

From this time Arthur constantly spoke of his home, and 
above all, of his father, who had been dead about a year, 
and whose memory Tom soon got to love and reverence 
almost as much as his own son did. 



Arthur's father had been the clergyman of a parish in 
the Midland counties, which had risen into a large town 
during the war, and upon which the hard years which fol- 
lowed had fallen with a fearful weight. The trade had been 
half ruined : and then came the old sad story of masters 
reducing their establishments, men turned off and wander- 
ing about, hungry and wan in body, and fierce in soul, 
from the thought of wives and children starving at home, 
and the last sticks of furniture going to the pawn-shop. 
Children taken from school, and lounging about the dirty 
streets and courts, too listless almost to play, and squalid 
in rags and misery. And then the fearful struggle between 
the employers and men ; lowerings of wages, strikes, and 
the long course of oft-repeated crime, ending every now and 
then with a riot, a fire, and the county yeomanry. There is 
no need here to dwell upon such tales ; the Englishman 
into whose soul they have not sunk deep is not worthy 
the name ; you English boys for whom this book is meant 
(God bless your bright faces and kind hearts !) will learn 
it all soon enough. 

Into such a parish and state of society Arthur's father 
had been thrown at the age of twenty-five, a young married 
parson, full of faith, hope, and love. He had battled with 
it like a man, and had lots of fine Utopian ideas about the 
perfectibility of mankind, glorious humanity, and such-like, 
knocked out of his head ; and a real wholesome Christian 
love for the poor struggling, sinning men, of whom he felt 
himself one, and with and for whom he spent fortune, and 
strength, and life, driven into his heart. He had battled 
like a man, and gotten a man's reward. No silver teapots 
or salvers, with flowery inscriptions, setting forth his virtues 



and the appreciation of a genteel parish ; no fat Hving or 
stall, for which he never looked, and did n't care ; no sighs 
and praises of comfortable dowagers and well-got-up young 
women who worked him slippers, sugared his tea, and adored 
him as ' a devoted man ' ; but a manly respect, wrung from 
the unwilling souls of men who fancied his order their 
natural enemies ; the fear and hatred of every one who was 
false or unjust in the district, were he master or man ; and 
the blessed sight of women and children daily becoming 
more human and more homely, a comfort to themselves 
and to their husbands and fathers. 

These things of course took time, and had to be fought 
for with toil and sweat of brain and heart, and with the 
life-blood poured out. All that, Arthur had laid his account 
to give, and took as a matter of course ; neither pitying 
himself, nor looking on himself as a martyr, when he felt 
the wear and tear making him feel old before his time, and 
the stifling air of fever-dens telling on his health. His wife 
seconded him in everything. She had been rather fond of 
society, and much admired and run after before her mar- 
riage ; and the London world, to which she had belonged, 
pitied poor Fanny Evelyn when she married the young 
clergyman, and went to settle in that smoky hole Turley, a 
very nest of Chartism and Atheism, in a part of the county 
which all the decent families had had to leave for years. 
However, somehow or other she did n't seem to care. If 
her husband's living had been amongst green fields and 
near pleasant neighbours, she would have liked it better, 
that she never pretended to deny. But there they were : 
the air was n't bad, after all ; the people were very good 
sort of people, civil to you if you were civil to them, after 



the first brush ; and they did n't expect to work miracles, 
and convert them all off-hand into model Christians. So he 
and she went quietly among the folk, talking to and treat- 
ing them just as they would have done people of their 
own rank. They did n't feel that they were doing anything 
out of the common way, and so were perfectly natural, and 
had none of that condescension or consciousness of manner 
which so outrages the independent poor. And thus they 
gradually won respect and confidence ; and after sixteen 
years he was looked up to by the whole neighbourhood as 
tJie just man, the man to whom masters and men could go 
in their strikes, and all in their quarrels and difficulties, 
and by whom the right and true word would be said with- 
out fear or favour. And the women had come round to 
take her advice, and go to her as a friend in all their 
troubles ; while the children all worshipped the very ground 
she trod on. 

They had three children, two daughters and a son, little 
Arthur, who came between his sisters. He had been a very 
delicate boy from his childhood ; they thought he had a 
tendency to consumption, and so he had been kept at home 
and taught by his father, who had made a companion of 
him, and from whom he had gained good scholarship, and 
a knowledge of and interest in many subjects which boys in 
general never come across till they are many years older. 

Just as he reached his thirteenth year, and his father had 
settled that he was strong enough to go to school, and, after 
much debating with himself, had resolved to send him there, 
a desperate typhus fever broke out in the town ; most of 
the other clergy, and almost all the doctors, ran away ; the 
work fell with tenfold weight on those who stood to their 



work. Arthur and his wife both caught the fever, of which 
he died in a few days, and she recovered, having been able 
to nurse him to the end, and store up his last words. He 
was sensible to the last, and calm and happy, leaving his wife 
and children with fearless trust for a few years in the hands 
of the Lord and Friend who had lived and died for him, 
and for whom he, to the best of his power, had lived and 
died. His widow's mourning was deep and gentle ; she was 
more affected by the request of the Committee of a Free- 
thinking Club, established in the town by some of the fac- 
tory hands (which he had striven against with might and 
main, and nearly suppressed), that some of their number 
might be allowed to help bear the coffin, than by anything 
else. Two of them were chosen, who, with six other labour- 
ing men, his own fellow-workmen and friends, bore him to 
his grave — a man who had fought the Lord's fight even 
unto the death. The shops were closed and the factories 
shut that day in the parish, yet no master stopped the day's 
wages ; but for many a year afterwards the townsfolk felt 
the want of that brave, hopeful, loving parson, and his 
wife, who had lived to teach them mutual forbearance and 
helpfulness, and had almost at last given them a glimpse 
of what this old world would be if people would live for 
God and each other, instead of for themselves. 

What has all this to do with our story } \\' ell, my dear 
boys, let a fellow go on his own way, or you won't get any- 
thing out of him worth having. I must show you what sort 
of a man it was who had begotten and trained little Arthur, 
or else you won't believe in him, which I am resolved you 
shall do ; and you won't sec how he, the timid weak boy, 
had points in him from which the bravest and strongest 



recoiled, and made his presence and example felt from the 
first on all sides, unconsciously to himself, and without the 
least attempt at proselytizing. The spirit of his father was 
in him, and the Friend to whom his father had left him 
did not neglect the trust. 

After supper that night, and almost nightly for years 
afterwards, Tom and Arthur, and by degrees East occa- 
sionally, and sometimes one, sometimes another, of their 
friends, read a chapter of the Bible together, and talked it 
over aftenvards. Tom was at first utterly astonished, and 
almost shocked, at the sort of way in which Arthur read the 
book, and talked about the men and women whose lives 
were there told. The first night they happened to fall on 
the chapters about the famine in Egypt, and Arthur began 
talking about Joseph as if he were a living statesman ; just 
as he might have talked about Lord Grey and the Reform 
Bill ; only that they were much more living realities to him. 
The book was to him, Tom saw, the most vivid and delight- 
ful history of real people, who might do right or WTong, just 
like any one who was walking about in Rugby — the Doctor, 
or the masters, or the sixth-form boys. But the astonish- 
ment soon passed off, the scales seemed to drop from his 
eyes, and the book became at once and for ever to him the 
great human and divine book, and the men and women, 
whom he had looked upon as something quite different 
from himself, became his friends and counsellors. 

For our purposes, however, the history of one night's 
reading will be sufficient, which must be told here, now 
we are on the subject, though it did n't happen till a year 
afterwards, and long after the events recorded in the next 
chapter of our story. 



Arthur, Tom, and East were together one night, and 
read the story of Naaman coming to Ehsha to be cured of 
his leprosy. When the chapter was finished, Tom shut his 
Bible with a slap, 

'I can't stand that fellow Naaman,' said he, 'after what 
he 'd seen and felt, going back and bowing himself down in 
the house of Rimmon, because his effeminate scoundrel of 
a master did it, I wonder Elisha took the trouble to heal 
him. How he must have despised him ! ' 

' Yes, there you go off as usual, with a shell on your 
head,' struck in East, who always took the opposite side to 
Tom ; half from love of argument, half from conviction, 
'How do you know he didn't think better of it.? how do 
you know his master was a scoundrel ? His letter don't 
look like it, and the book don't say so.' 

•I don't care,' rejoined Tom; 'why did Naaman talk 
about bowing down, then, if he did n't mean to do it ? He 
wasn't likely to get more in earnest when he got back to 
Court, and away from the Prophet,' 

'Well, but, Tom,' said Arthur, 'look what Elisha says 
to him, "Go in peace." He wouldn't have said that if 
Naaman had been in the wrong.' 

' I don't see that that means more than saying, " You 're 
not the man I took you for," ' 

' No, no, that won't do at all,' said East ; ' read the words 
fairly, and take men as you find them, I like Naaman, and 
think he was a very fine fellow,' 

' I don't,' said Tom positively. 

'Well, I think East is right,' said Arthur; 'I can't see 
but what it 's right to do the best you can, though it mayn't 
be the best absolutely. Every man is n't born to be a martyr.' 



'Of course, of course,' said East; 'but he's on one of 
his pet hobbies. How often have I told you, Tom, that 
you must drive a nail where it '11 go.' 

'And how often have I told you,' rejoined Tom, 'that 
it '11 always go where you want, if you only stick to it and 
hit hard enough. I hate half-measures and compromises.' 

' Yes, he 's a whole-hog man, is Tom. Must have the 
whole animal, hair and teeth, claws and tail,' laughed East. 
' Sooner have no bread any day than half the loaf.' 

'I don't know,' said Arthur, 'it's rather puzzling; but 
ain't most right things got by proper compromises, I 
mean where the principle is n't given up ? ' 

'That's just the point,' said Tom; 'I don't object to a 
compromise, where you don't give up your principle,' 

' Not you,' said East laughingly. ' I know him of old, 
Arthur, and you '11 find him out some day. There is n't such 
a reasonable fellow in the world, to hear him talk. He never 
wants anything but what 's right and fair ; only when you 
come to settle what 's right and fair, it 's everything that he 
wants, and nothing that you want. And that 's his idea of 
a compromise. Give me the Brown compromise when I'm 
on his side.' 

'Now, Harry,' said Tom, 'no more chaff — I'm serious. 
Look here — this is what makes rriy blood tingle ' ; and he 
turned over the pages of his Bible and read, ' Shadrach, 
Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, 
O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in 
this matter. If it de so, our God whom we serve is able to 
deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will 
deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But //" nof, be it 
known unto thee, O king, that we will /wt serve thy gods, 




nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.' He 
read the last verse twice, emphasizing the nots, and dwelling 
on them as if they gave him actual pleasure, and were 
hard to part with. 

They were silent a minute, and then Arthur said, ' Yes, 
that 's a glorious story, but it don't prove your point, Tom, 
I think. There are times when there is only one way, and 
that the highest, and then the men are found to stand in 
the breach.' 

' There 's always a highest way, and it 's always the right 
one,' said Tom. ' How many times has the Doctor told us 
that in his sermons in the last year, I should like to know ? ' 

' Well, you ain't going to convince us, is he, Arthur } 
No Brown compromise to-night,' said East, looking at his 
watch. ' But it 's past eight, and we must go to first lesson. 
What a bore ! ' 

So they took down their books and fell to work ; but 
Arthur did n't forget, and thought long and often over 
the conversation. 


C6aMQr HI 

Mrffiur ma^ejc u 3^ien^ 

* Let nature be your teacher ; 
Sweet is the lore which nature brings ; 
Our meddling intellect 
Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things. 
We murder to dissect — 
Enough of Science and of Art ; 
Close up those barren leaves ; 
Come forth, and bring with you a heart 
That watches and receives. ' 




BOUT six weeks after the beginning of 
the half, as Tom and Arthur were sit- 
ting one night before supper beginning 
their verses, Arthur suddenly stopped, 
and looked up, and said, ' Tom, do you 
know anything of Martin ? ' 
'Yes,' said Tom, taking his hand out of his back hair, 
and delighted to throw his Gradus ad Parnassum on to the 
sofa ; ' I know him pretty well. He 's a very good fellow, 
but as mad as a hatter. He 's called Madman, you know. 
And never was such a fellow for getting all sorts of rum 
things about him. He tamed two snakes last half, and used 
to carry them about in his pocket, and I '11 be bound he 's 
got some hedgehogs and rats in his cupboard now, and no 
one knows what besides.' 

'I should like very much to know him,' said Arthur; 
* he was next to me in the form to-day, and he 'd lost his 
book and looked over mine, and he seemed so kind and 
gentle, that I liked him very much.' 

'Ah, poor old Madman, he's always losing his books,' 
said Tom, ' and getting called up and floored because he 
has n't got them.' 

'I like him all the better,' said Arthur. 
'Well, he's great fun, I can tell you,' said Tom, throw- 
ing himself back on the sofa, and chuckling at the remem- 
brance. ' We had such a game with him one day last half. 
He had been kicking up horrid stinks for some time in his 
study, till I suppose some fellow told Mary, and she told the 
Doctor. Anyhow, one day a little before dinner, when he 
came down from the library, the Doctor, instead of going 
home, came striding into the Hall. East and I and five or 



six other fellows were at the fire, and preciously we stared, 
for he don't come in like that once a year, unless it is a 
wet day and there 's a fight in the Hall. " East," says he, 
"just come and show me Martin's study." "Oh, here's a 
game," whispered the rest of us, and we all cut upstairs 
after the Doctor, East leading. As we got into the New 
Row, which was hardly wide enough to hold the Doctor 
and his gown, click, click, click, we heard in the old Mad- 
man's den. Then that stopped all of a sudden, and the 
bolts went to like fun : the Madman knew East's step, and 
thought there was going to be a siege. 

« " It 's the Doctor, ^^lartin. He 's here and wants to see 
you," sings out East. 

' Then the bolts went back slowly, and the door opened, 
and there was the old ]\Iadman standing, looking precious 
scared ; his jacket off, his shirt-sleeves up to his elbows, 
and his long skinny arms all covered with anchors and 
arrows and letters, tattooed in with gunpowder like a sailor- 
boy's, and a stink fit to knock you down coming out. 'T was 
all the Doctor could do to stand his ground, and East and 
I, who were looking in under his arms, held our noses tight. 
The old magpie was standing on the window-sill, all his 
feathers drooping, and looking disgusted and half -poisoned. 
' " What can you be about, Martin ? " says the Doctor ; 
"you really mustn't go on in this way — you 're a nuisance 
to the whole passage," 

' " Please, Sir, I was only mixing up this powder, there 
isn't any harm in it"; and the Madman seized nervously 
on his pestle-and-mortar, to show the Doctor the harmless- 
ness of his pursuits, and went on pounding ; click, click, 
click ; he had n't given six clicks before puff ! up went the 




whole into a great blaze, away went the pestle-and-mortar 
across the study, and back we tumbled into the passage. 
The magpie fluttered down into the court, swearing, and 
the Madman danced out, howling, with his fingers in his 
mouth. The Doctor caught hold of him, and called to us 
to fetch some water. "There, you silly fellow," said he, 
quite pleased though to find he wasn't much hurt, "you see 
you don't know the least what you 're doing with all these 
things ; and now, mind, you must give up practising chemis- 
try by yourself." Then he took hold of his arm and looked 
at it, and I saw he had to bite his lip, and his eyes twinkled ; 
but he said, quite grave, " Here, you see, you 've been mak- 
ing all these foolish marks on yourself, which you can never 
get out, and you '11 be very sorry for it in a year or two : 
now come down to the housekeeper's room, and let us see 
if you are hurt." And away went the two, and we all 
stayed and had a regular turnout of the den, till Martin 
came back with his hand bandaged and turned us out. 
However, I '11 go and see what he 's after, and tell him to 
come in after prayers to supper.' And away went Tom to 
find the boy in question, who dwelt in a little study by 
himself, in New Row. 

The aforesaid Martin, whom Arthur had taken such a 
fancy for, was one of those unfortunates who were at that 
time of day (and are, I fear, still) quite out of their places 
at a public school. If we knew how to use our boys, Martin 
would have been seized upon and educated as a natural phi- 
losopher. He had a passion for birds, beasts, and insects, 
and knew more of them and their habits than any one in 
Rugby ; except perhaps the Doctor, who knew everything. 
He was also an experimental chemist on a small scale, and 



had made unto himself an electric machine, from which 
it was his greatest pleasure and glory to administer small 
shocks to any small boys wlio were rash enough to venture 
into his study. And this was by no means an adventure 
free from excitement ; for, besides the probability of a snake 
dropping on to your liead or twining lovingly up your leg, 
or a rat getting into your breeches-pocket in search of food, 
there was the animal and chemical odour to be faced, which 
always hung about the den, and the chance of being blown 
up in some of the many experiments which Martin was 
always trying, with the most wondrous results in the shape 
of explosions and smells that mortal boy ever heard of. Of 
course, poor Martin, in consequence of his pursuits, had 
become an Ishmaelite in the house. In the first place, he 
half-poisoned all his neighbours, and they in turn were 
always on the look-out to pounce upon any of his numerous 
live-stock, and drive him frantic by enticing his pet old mag- 
pie out of his window into a neighbouring study, and making 
the disreputable old bird drunk on toast soaked in beer and 
sugar. Then Martin, for his sins, inhabited a study looking 
into a small court some ten feet across, the window of which 
was completely commanded,by those of the studies opposite 
in the Sick-room row, these latter being at a slightly higher 
elevation. East, and another boy of an equally tormenting 
and ingenious turn of mind, now lived exactly opposite, 
and had expended huge pains and time in the preparation 
of instruments of annovance for the behoof of Martin 
and his live colony. One morning an old basket made its 
appearance, suspended by a short cord outside Martin's 
window, in which were deposited an amateur nest contain- 
ing four young hungry jackdaws, the pride and glory of 



Martin's life for the time being, and which he was currently 
asserted to have hatched upon his own person. Early in 
the morning and late at night he was to be seen half out 
of window, administering to the varied wants of his callow 
brood. After deep cogitation. East and his chum had spliced 
a knife on to the end of a fishing-rod ; and having watched 
Martin out, had, after half an hour's severe sawing, cut the 
string by which the basket was suspended, and tumbled it on 
to the pavement below, with hideous remonstrance from the 
occupants. Poor Martin, returning from his short absence, 
collected the fragments and replaced his brood (except one 
whose neck had been broken in the descent) in their old 
location, suspending them this time by string and wire 
twisted together, defiant of any sharp instrument which his 
persecutors could command. But, like the Russian engineers 
at Sebastopol, East and his chum had an answer for every 
move of the adversary ; and the next day had mounted a gun 
in the shape of pea-shooter upon the ledge of their window, 
trained so as to bear exactly upon the spot which Martin had 
to occupy while tending his nurselings. The moment he be- 
gan to feed, they began to shoot ; in vain did the ene"my him- 
self invest in a pea-shooter, and endeavour to answer the fire 
while he fed the young birds with his other hand ; his at- 
tention was divided, and his shots fiew wild, while every one 
of theirs told on his face and hands, and drove him into 
howlings and imprecations. He had been driven to ensconce 
the nest in a corner of his already too well-filled den. 

His door was barricaded by a set of ingenious bolts of his 
own invention, for the sieges were frequent by the neigh- 
bours when any unusually ambrosial odour spread itself from 
the den to the neighbouring studies. The door panels were 



in a normal state of smash, but the frame of the door 
resisted all besiegers, and behind it the owner carried on his 
varied pursuits ; much in the same state of mind, I should 
fancy, as a border-farmer lived in, in the days of the old 
moss-troopers, when his hold might be summoned or his 
cattle carried off at any minute of night or day. 

'Open, Martin, old boy — it's only I, Tom Brown.' 

'Oh, very well, stop a moment.' One bolt went back, 
' You 're sure East is n't there ? ' 

' No, no, hang it, open.' Tom gave a kick, the other 
bolt creaked, and he entered the den. 

Den indeed it was, about five feet six inches long by five 
wide, and seven feet high. About six tattered school-books, 
and a few chemical books, Taxidermy, Stanley on Birds, 
and an odd volume of Bewick, the latter in much better 
preservation, occupied the top shelves. The other shelves, 
where they had not been cut away and used by the owner 
for other purposes, were fitted up for the abiding places of 
birds, beasts, and' reptiles. There was no attempt at carpet 
or curtain. The table was entirely occupied by the great 
work of Martin, the electric machine, which was covered 
carefully with the remains of his table-cloth. The jackdaw 
cage occupied one wall, and the other was adorned by a 
small hatchet, a pair of climbing-irons, and his tin candle- 
box, in which he was for the time being endeavouring to 
raise a hopeful young family of field-mice. As nothing 
should be let to lie useless, it was well that the candle-box 
was thus occupied, for candles Martin never had. A pound 
was issued to him weekly as to the other boys, but as can- 
dles were available capital, and easily exchangeable for birds' 
eggs or young birds, Martin's pound invariably found its 

[ 283 ] 


way in a few hours to Howlett's the bird-fancier's, in the 
Bilton road, who would give a hawk's or nightingale's egg 
or young linnet in exchange. Martin's ingenuity was there- 
fore for ever on the rack to supply himself with a light ; 
just now he had hit upon a grand invention, and the den 
was lighted by a flaring cotton-wick issuing from a ginger- 
beer bottle full of some doleful composition. When light 
altogether failed him, Martin would loaf about by the fires 
in the passages or Hall, after the manner of Diggs, and 
try to do his verses or learn his lines by the fire-light. 

' Well, old boy, you have n't got any sweeter in the den 
this half. How that stuff in the bottle stinks. Never mind, 
I ain't going to stop, but you come up after prayers to our 
study ; you know young Arthur, we 've got Gray's study. 
We '11 have a good supper and talk about bird's-nesting.' 

Martin was evidently highly pleased at the invitation, 
and promised to be up without fail. 

As soon as prayers were over, and the sixth and fifth- 
form boys had withdrawn to the aristocratic seclusion of 
their own room, and the rest, or democracy, had sat down 
to their supper in the Hall ; Tom and Arthur, having 
secured their allowances of bread and cheese, started on 
their feet to catch the eye of the praepostor of the week, 
who remained in charge during supper, walking up and 
down the Hall. He happened to be an easy-going fellow, 
so they' got a pleasant nod to their ' Please, may I go out .-' ' 
and away they scrambled to prepare for Martin a sumptuous 
banquet. This Tom had insisted on, for he was in great 
delight on the occasion ; the reason of which delight must 
be expounded. The fact was that this was the first attempt 
at a friendship of his own which Arthur had made, and 



Tom hailed it as a grand step. The ease with which he 
himself became hail-fellow-well-met with anybody, and blun- 
dered into and out of twenty friendships a half-year, made 
him sometimes sorry and sometimes angry at Arthur's 
reserve and loneliness. True, Arthur was always pleasant, 
and even jolly, with any boys who came with Tom to their 
study ; but Tom felt that it was only through him, as it 
were, that his chum associated with others, and that but for 
him Arthur would have been dwelling in a wilderness. This 
increased his consciousness of responsibility ; and though 
he had n't reasoned it out and made it clear to himself, yet 
somehow he knew that this responsibility, this trust which 
he had taken on him without thinking about it, head-over- 
heels in fact, was the centre and turning-point of his school- 
life, that which was to make him or mar him ; his appointed 
work and trial for the time being. And Tom was becoming 
a new boy, though with frequent tumbles in the dirt and 
perpetual hard battle with himself, and was daily growing 
in manfulness and, thoughtfulness, as every high-couraged 
and well-principled boy must, when he finds himself for 
the first time consciously at grips with self and the devil. 
Already he could turn, almost without a sigh, from the 
school-gates, from which had just scampered off East and 
three or four others of his own particular set, bound for 
some jolly lark not quite according to law, and involving 
probably a row with louts, keepers, or farm-labourers, the 
skipping dinner or calling-over, some of Phoebe Jennings' 
beer, and a very possible flogging at the end of all as a 
relish. He had quite got over the stage in which he would 
grumble to himself, ' Well, hang it, it 's very hard of the 
Doctor to have saddled me with Arthur. Why could n't 



he have chummed him with Fogey, or Thomkin, or any 
of the fellows who never do anything but walk round the 
close, and finish their copies the first day they 're set ? ' 
But although all this was past, he often longed, and felt 
that he was right in longing, for more time for the legiti- 
mate pastimes of cricket, fives, bathing, and fishing within 
bounds, in which Arthur could not yet be his companion ; 
and he felt that when the young un (as he now generally 
called him) had found a pursuit and some other friend for 
himself, he should be able to give more time to the educa- 
tion of his own body with a clear conscience. 

And now what he so wished for had come to pass ; he 
almost hailed it as a special providence (as indeed it was, 
but not for the reasons he gave for it — what providences 
are ?) that Arthur should have singled out Martin of all 
fellows for a friend. 'The old Madman is the very fellow,' 
thought he ; ' he will take him scrambling over half the 
country after birds' eggs and flowers, make him run and 
swim and climb like an Indian, and not teach him a word of 
anything bad, or keep him from his lessons. What luck ! ' 
And so, with more than his usual heartiness, he dived into 
his cupboard, and hauled out an old knuckle-bone of ham, 
and two or three bottles of beer, together with the solemn 
pewter only used on state occasions ; while Arthur, equally 
elated at the easy accomplishment of his first act of volition 
in the joint establishment, produced from his side a bottle 
of pickles and a pot of jam, and cleared the table. In a 
minute or two the noise of the boys coming up from supper 
was heard, and Martin knocked and was admitted, bearing 
his bread and cheese, and the three fell to with hearty good- 
will upon the viands, talking faster than they ate, for all 



shyness disappeared in a moment before Tom's bottled-beer 
and hospitable ways. 'Here's Arthur, a regular young town- 
mouse, with a natural taste for the woods, Martin, longing 
to break his neck climbing trees, and with a passion for 
young snakes.' 

'Well, I say,' sputtered out Martin eagerly, 'will you 
come to-morrow, both of you, to Caldecott's Spinney, then, 
for I know of a kestrel's nest, up a fir-tree — I can't 
get at it without help ; and, Brown, you can climb against 
any one.' 

'Oh yes, do let us go,' said Arthur; 'I never saw a 
hawk's nest, nor a hawk's egg.' 

' You just come down to my study then, and I '11 show 
you five sorts,' said Martin. 

'Aye, the old Madman has got the best collection in the 
house, out-and-out,' said Tom ; and then Martin, warming 
with unaccustomed good cheer and the chance of a convert, 
launched out into a proposed birds'-nesting campaign, be- 
traying all manner, of important secrets ; a golden-crested 
wren's nest near Butlin's Mound, a moor-hen who was sit- 
ting on nine eggs in a pond down the Barby road, and a 
kingfisher's nest in a corner of the old canal above Browns- 
over Mill. He had heard, he said, that no one had ever 
got a kingfisher's nest out perfect, and that the British 
Museum, or the Government, or somebody, had offered 
;^ioo to any one who could bring them a nest and eggs 
not damaged. In the middle of which astounding announce- 
ment, to which the others were listening with open ears, 
and already considering the application of the ;^ioo, a 
knock came to the door, and East's voice was heard craving 



'There's Harry,' said Tom; 'we'll let him in — I'll 
keep him steady, Martin. I thought the old boy would 
smell out the supper.' 

The fact was that Tom's heart had already smitten him 
for not asking his ' fidus Achates ' to the feast, although only 
an extempore affair ; and though prudence and the desire to 
get Martin and Arthur together alone at first had overcome 
his scruples, he was now heartily glad to open the door, 
broach another bottle of beer, and hand over the old ham- 
knuckle to the searching of his old friend's pocket-knife, 

'Ah, you greedy vagabonds,' said East, with his mouth 
full, ' I knew there was something going on when I saw 
you cut off out of Hall so quick with your suppers. What 
a stunning tap, Tom ! you are a wunner for bottling 
the swipes.' 

* I 've had practice enough for the sixth in my time, and 
it 's hard if I have n't picked up a wrinkle or two for my 
own benefit.' 

' Well, old Madman, and how goes the birds'-nesting 
campaign .? How 's Howlett ? I expect the young rooks '11 
be out in another fortnight, and then my turn comes.' 

' There '11 be no young rooks fit for pies for a month yet ; 
shows how much you know about it,' rejoined Martin, who, 
though very good friends with East, regarded him with con- 
siderable suspicion for his propensity to practical jokes. 

* Scud knows nothing and cares for nothing but grub 
and mischief,' said Tom; 'but young rook pie, specially 
when you 've had to climb for them, is very pretty eating. 
However, I say, Scud, we 're all going after a hawk's nest 
to-morrow, in Caldecott's Spinney ; and if you '11 come and 
behave yourself, we '11 have a stunning climb.' 

[ -^88 ] 


'And a bathe in Aganippe, Hooray! I'm your man.' 

' No, no ; no bathing in Aganippe ; that's where our 
betters go.' 

'Well, well, never mind. I'm for the hawk's nest and 
anything that turns up.' 

And the bottled-beer being finished, and his hunger 
appeased, East departed to his study, 'that sneak Jones,' 
as he informed them, who had just got into the sixth 
and occupied the next study, having instituted a nightly 
visitation upon East and his chum, to their no small 

When he was gone, Martin rose to follow, but Tom 
stopped him. 'No one goes near New Row,' said he, 'so 
you may just as well stop here and do your verses, and 
then we '11 have some more talk. We '11 be no end quiet ; 
besides, no praepostor comes here now — we haven't been 
visited once this half.' 

So the table was cleared, the cloth restored, and the 
three fell to work' with Gradus and dictionary upon the 
morning's vulgus. 

They were three very fair examples of the way in which 
such tasks were done at Rugby, in the consulship of Plancus. 
And doubtless the method is little changed, for there is 
nothing new under the sun, especially at schools. 

Now be it known unto all you boys who are at schools 
which do not rejoice in the time-honoured institution of 
the vulgus (commonly supposed to have been established 
by William of Wykeham at Winchester, and imported to 
Rugby by Arnold, more for the sake of the lines which 
were learnt by heart with it than for its own intrinsic value, 
as I 've always understood), that it is a short exercise, in 



Greek or Latin verse, on a given subject, tlie minimum 
number of lines being fixed for each form. The master of 
the form gave out at fourth lesson on the previous day 
the subject for next morning's vulgus, and at first lesson 
each boy had to bring his vulgus ready to be looked over ; 
and with the vulgus, a certain number of lines from one of 
the Latin or Greek poets then being construed in the form 
had to be got by heart. The master at first lesson called 
up each boy in the form in order, and put him on in the 
lines. If he could n't say them, or seem to say them, by 
reading them off the master's or some other boy's book 
who stood near, he was sent back, and went below all the 
boys who did so say or seem to say them ; but in either 
case his vulgus was looked over by the master, who gave 
and entered in his book, to the credit or discredit of the 
boy, so many marks as the composition merited. At Rugby 
vulgus and lines were the first lesson every other day in 
the week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays ; and as 
there were thirty-eight weeks in the school year, it is obvi- 
ous to the meanest capacity that the master of each form 
had to set one hundred and fourteen subjects every year, 
two hundred and twenty-eight every two years, and so on. 
Now to persons of moderate invention this was a consider- 
able task, and human nature being prone to repeat itself, it 
will not be wondered that the masters gave the same sub- 
jects sometimes over again after a certain lapse of time. 
To meet and rebuke this bad habit of the masters, the 
school-boy mind, with its accustomed ingenuity, had invented 
an elaborate system of tradition. Almost every boy kept his 
own vulgus written out in a book, and these books were 
duly handed down from boy to boy, till (if the tradition has 



gone on till now) I suppose the popular boys, in whose 
hands bequeathed vulgus-books have accumulated, are pre- 
pared with three or four vulguses on any subject in heaven 
or earth, or in 'more worlds than one,' which an unfortu- 
nate master can pitch upon. At any rate, such lucky fellows 
had generally one for themselves and one for a friend in 
my time. The only objection to the traditionary method of 
doing your vulguses was, the risk that the successions might 
have become confused, and so that you and another fol- 
lower of traditions should show up the same identical vul- 
gus some fine morning ; in which case, when it happened, 
considerable grief was the result — but when did such risk 
hinder boys or men from short cuts and pleasant paths ? 

Now in the study that night, Tom was the upholder of 
the traditionary method of vulgus doing. He carefully pro- 
duced two large vulgus-books, and began diving into them, 
and picking out a line here, and an ending there (tags as 
they were vulgarly called), till he had gotten all that he 
thought he could make fit. He then proceeded to patch his 
tags together with the help of his Gradus, producing an 
incongruous and feeble result of eight elegiac lines, the 
minimum quantity for his form, and finishing up with two 
highly moral lines extra, making ten in all, which he cribbed 
entire from one of his books, beginning ' O genus humanum,' 
and which he himself must have used a dozen times before, 
whenever an unfortunate or wicked hero, of whatever nation 
or language under the sun, was the subject. Indeed he 
began to have great doubts whether the master would n't 
remember them, and so only threw them in as extra lines, 
because in any case they would call off attention from the 
other tags, and if detected, being extra lines, he would n't 



be sent back to do two more in their place, while if they 
passed muster again he would get marks for them. 

The second method pursued by Martin may be called 
the dogged, or prosaic method. He, no more than Tom, 
took any pleasure in the task, but having no old vulgus- 
books of his own, or any one's else, could not follow the 
traditionary method, for which too, as Tom remarked, he 
hadn't the genius. Martin then proceeded to write down 
eight lines in English, of the most matter-of-fact kind, the 
first that came into his head ; and to convert these, line by 
line, by main force of Gradus and dictionary, into Latin 
that would scan. This was all he cared for, to produce 
eight lines with no false quantities or concords : whether 
the words were apt, or what the sense was, mattered noth- 
ing ; and, as the article was all new, not a line beyond 
the minimum did the followers of the dogged method 
ever produce. 

The third, or artistic method, was Arthur's. He con- 
sidered first what point in the character or event which was 
the subject could most neatly be brought out within the 
limits of a vulgus, trying always to get his idea into the 
eight lines, but not binding himself to ten or even twelve 
lines if he could n't do this. He then set to work, as much 
as possible without Gradus or other help, to clothe his idea 
in appropriate Latin or Greek, and would not be satisfied 
till he had polished it well up with the aptest and most 
poetic words and phrases he could get at. 

A fourth method indeed was used in the school, but of 
too simple a kind to require a comment. It may be called 
the vicarious method, obtained amongst big boys of lazy or 
bullying habits, and consisted simply in making clever boys 



whom they could thrash do their whole vulgus for them, 
and construe it to them afterwards ; which latter is a 
method not to be encouraged, and which I strongly advise 
you all not to practise. Of the others, you will find the 
traditionary most troublesome, unless you can steal your 
vulguses whole (cxperto crcdc), and that the artistic method 
pays the best both in marks and other ways. 

The vulguses being finished by nine o'clock, and Martin 
having rejoiced above measure in the abundance of light, 
and of Gradus and dictionary, and other conveniences 
almost unknown to him for getting through the work, and 
having been pressed by Arthur to come and do his verses 
there whenever he liked, the three boys went down to 
Martin's den, and Arthur was initiated into the lore of 
birds' eggs, to his great delight. The exquisite colouring 
and forms astonished and charmed him, who had scarcely 
ever seen any but a hen's egg or an ostrich's, and by the 
time he was lugged away to bed he had learned the names 
of at least twenty sorts, and dreamt of the glorious perils 
of tree-climbing, and that he had found a roc's Qgg in the 
island as big as Sinbad's, and clouded like a tit-lark's, in 
blowing which Martin and he had nearly been drowned 
in the yolk. 


Cfepfer JV 

•/ have found out a gift for my fair, 

I have found where the wood-pigeons breed: 
But let me the plunder forbear. 

She would say '/ was a barbarous deed. ' 


'And now, my lad, take them five shilling. 

And on my advice in future think ; 
So Billy pouched them all so willing. 
And got that night disguised in drink. ' 

MS. Ballad 

HE next morning at first lesson Tom was 
turned back in his lines, and so had to 
wait till the second round, while Martin 
and Arthur said theirs all right and got 
out of school at once. When Tom got 
out and ran down to breakfast at Harro- 
well's they were missing, and Stumps informed him that 
they had swallowed down their breakfasts and gone off 
together, where, he could n't say. Tom hurried over his 
own breakfast, and went first to Martin's study and then 



to his own, but no signs of the missing boys were to be 
found. He felt half angry and jealous of Martin — where 
could they be gone ? 

He learnt second lesson with East and the rest in no 
very good temper, and then went out into the quadrangle. 
About ten minutes before school Martin and Arthur arrived 
in the quadrangle breathless ; and, catching sight of him, 
Arthur rushed up, all excitement, and with a bright glow 
on his face. 

' Oh, Tom, look here,' cried he, holding out three moor- 
hen's eggs; 'we've been down the Barby road to the pool 
Martin told us of last night, and just see what we 've got.' 

Tom would n't be pleased, and only looked out for some- 
thing to find fault with. 

' Why, young un, ' said he, ' what have you been after ? 
You don't mean to say you 've been wading ? ' 

The tone of reproach made poor little Arthur shrink up 
in a moment and look piteous, and Tom with a shrug of 
his shoulders turned his anger on Martin. 

' Well, I did n't think. Madman, that you 'd have been 
such a muff as to let him be getting wet through at this 
time of day. You might have done the wading yourself.' 

' So I did, of course, only he would come in too, to see 
the nest. We left six eggs in ; they '11 be hatched in a day 
or two.' 

' Hang the eggs ! ' said Tom ; ' a fellow can't turn his 
back for a moment but all his work 's undone. He '11 be 
laid up for a week for this precious lark, I '11 be bound.' 

' Indeed, Tom, now,' pleaded Arthur, ' my feet ain't 
wet, for Martin made me take off my shoes and stockings 
and trousers.' 



* But they are wet and dirty, too — can't I see ? ' answered 
Tom ; ' and you '11 be called up and floored when the 
master sees what a state you 're in. You have n't looked at 
second lesson, you know.' Oh, Tom, you old humbug ! you 
to be upbraiding any one with not learning their lessons. 
If you had n't been floored yourself now at first lesson, do 
you mean to say you would n't have been with them ? and 
you 've taken away all poor little Arthur's joy and pride in 
his first birds' eggs, and he goes and puts them down in 
the study, and takes down his books with -a sigh, thinking 
he has done something horribly wrong, whereas he has 
learnt on in advance much more than will be done at 
second lesson. 

But the old Madman has n't, and gets called up and 
makes some frightful shots, losing about ten places, and all 
but getting floored. This somewhat appeases Tom's wrath, 
and by the end of the lesson he has regained his temper. 
And afterwards in their study he begins to get right again, 
as he watches Arthur's intense joy at seeing Martin blow- 
ing the eggs and glueing them carefully on to bits of card- 
board, and notes the anxious loving looks which the little 
fellow casts sidelong at him. And then he thinks, * What 
an ill-tempered beast I am ! Here 's just what I was wish- 
ing for last night come about, and I'm spoiling it all,' and 
in another five minutes has swallowed the last mouthful of 
his bile, and is repaid by seeing his little sensitive plant 
expand again, and sun itself in his smiles. 

After dinner the Madman is busy with the preparations 
for their expedition, fitting new straps on to his climbing- 
irons, filling large pill-boxes with cotton-wool, and sharpen- 
ing East's small axe. They carry all their munitions into 



calling-over, and directly afterwards, having dodged such 
praepostors as are on the look-out for fags at cricket, the 
four set off at a smart trot down the Lawford footpath 
straight for Caldecott's Spinney and the hawk's nest. 

Martin leads the way in high feather ; it is quite a new 
sensation to him, getting companions, and he finds it very 
pleasant, and means to show them all manner of proofs of 
his science and skill. Brown and East may be better at 
cricket and football and games, thinks he, but out in the 
fields and woods, see if I can't teach them something. He 
has taken the leadership already, and strides away in front 
with his climbing-irons strapped under one arm, his pecking- 
bag under the other, and his pockets and hat full of pill- 
boxes, cotton- wool, and other et ceteras. Each of the others 
carries a pecking-bag, and East his hatchet. 

When they had crossed three or four fields without a 
check, Arthur began to lag, and Tom, seeing this, shouted 
to Martin to pull up a bit : * We ain't out Hare-and-hounds 
— what 's the good' of grinding on at this rate .-' ' 

'There's the Spinney,' said Martin, pulling up on the 
brow of a slope at the bottom of which lay Lawford brook, 
and pointing to the top of the opposite slope ; * the nest is 
in one of those high fir-trees at this end. And down by 
the brook there I know of a sedge-bird's nest ; we '11 go 
and look at it coming back.' 

'Oh, come on, don't let us stop,' said Arthur, who was 
getting excited at the sight of the wood ; so they broke 
into a trot again, and were soon across the brook, up the 
slope, and into the Spinney. Here they advanced as noise- 
lessly as possible, lest keepers or other enemies should be 
about, and stopped at the foot of a tall fir, at the top of 



which Martin pointed out with pride the kestrel's nest, the 
object of their quest. 

' Oh, where ? which is it ? ' asks Arthur, gaping up in 
the air, and having the most vague idea of what it would 
be like. 

' There, don't you see ? ' said East, pointing to a lump of 
mistletoe in the next tree, which was a beech : he saw that 
Martin and Tom were busy with the climbing-irons, and 
could n't resist the temptation of hoaxing. Arthur stared 
and wondered more than ever. 

' Well, how curious ! it does n't look a bit like what I 
expected,' said he. 

'Very odd birds, kestrels,' said East, looking waggishly 
at his victim, who was still star-gazing. 

'But I thought it was in a fir-tree? ' objected Arthur. 

' Ah, don't you know .? that 's a new sort of fir which old 
Caldecott brought from the Himalayas.' 

'Really!' said Arthur; 'I'm glad I know that — how 
unlike our firs they are ! They do very well too here, don't 
they.'' the Spinney's full of them.' 

' What 's that humbug he 's telling you .? ' cried Tom, 
looking up, having caught the word Himalayas, and sus- 
pecting what East was after. 

'Only about this fir,' said Arthur, putting his hand on 
the stem of the beech. 

' Fir ! ' shouted Tom, ' why, you don't mean to say, young 
un, you don't know a beech when you see one ? ' 

Poor little Arthur looked terribly ashamed, and East 
exploded in laughter which made the wood ring. 

'I 've hardly ever seen any trees,' faltered Arthur. 

' What a shame to hoax him, Scud ! ' cried Martin. 



' Never mind, Arthur, you shall know more about trees 
than he does in a week or two.' 

'And isn't that the kestrel's nest, then?' asked Arthur. 

' That ! why, that 's a piece of mistletoe. There 's the 
nest, that lump of sticks up this fir.' 

'Don't believe him, Arthur,' struck in the incorrigible 
East ; ' I just saw an old magpie go out of it,' 

Martin did not deign to reply to this sally, except by 
a grunt, as he buckled the last buckle of his climbing- 
irons ; and Arthur looked reproachfully at East without 

But now came the tug of war. It was a very difficult 
tree to climb until the branches were reached, the first of 
which was some fourteen feet up, for the trunk was too 
large at the bottom to be swarmed ; in fact, neither of the 
boys could reach more than half round it with their arms. 
Martin and Tom, both of whom had irons on, tried it with- 
out success at first ; the fir bark broke away where they 
stuck the irons in as' soon as they leant any weight on their 
feet, and the grip of their arms was n't enough to keep 
them up ; so, after getting up three or four feet, down they 
came slithering to the ground, barking their arms and faces. 
They were furious, and East sat by laughing and shouting 
at each failure, ' Two to one on the old magpie ! ' 

' We must try a pyramid,' said Tom at last. * Now, Scud, 
you lazy rascal, stick yourself against the tree ! ' 

' I dare say ! and have you standing on my shoulders 
with the irons on : what do you think my skin 's made of?' 
However, up he got, and leant against the tree, putting his 
head down and clasping it with his arms as far as he could. 
'Now then, Madman,' said Tom, 'you next.' 



'No, I'm lighter than you; you go next,' So Tom got 
on East's shoulders, and grasped the tree above, and then 
Martin scrambled up on to Tom's shoulders, amidst the 
totterings and groanings of the pyramid, and, with a spring 
which sent his supporters howling to the ground, clasped 
the stem some ten feet up, and remained clinging. For a 
moment or two they thought he could n't get up, but then, 
holding on with arms and teeth, he worked first one iron, 
then the other, firmly into the bark, got another grip 
with his arms, and in another minute had hold of the 
lowest branch 

'All up with the old magpie now,' said East; and, after 
a minute's rest, up went Martin, hand over hand, watched 
by Arthur with fearful eagerness. 

* Is n't it very dangerous ? ' said he. 

'Not a bit,' answered Tom; 'you can't hurt if you only 
get good hand-hold. Try ever)' branch with a good pull 
before you trust it, and then up you go.' 

Martin was now amongst the small branches close to the 
nest, and away dashed the old bird, and soared up above 
the trees, watching the intruder. 

' All right — four eggs ! ' shouted he. 

' Take 'em all ! ' shouted East ; ' that '11 be one apiece.' 

' No, no ! leave one, and then she won't care,' said Tom. 

We boys had an idea that birds could n't count, and were 
quite content as long as you left one egg. I hope it is so. 

Martin carefully put one egg into each of his boxes, and 
the third into his mouth, the only other place of safety, 
and came down like a lamplighter. All went well fill he 
was within ten feet of the ground, when, as the trunk 
enlarged, his hold got less and less firm, and at last down 



he came with a run, tumbhng on to his back on the turf, 
spluttering and spitting out the remains of the great egg, 
which had brol^en by the jar of his fall. 

'Ugh, ugh! something to drink — ugh! it was addled,' 
spluttered he, while the wood rang again with the merry 
laughter of East and Tom. 

Then they examined the prizes, gathered up their things, 
and went off to the brook, where Martin swallowed huge 
draughts of water to get rid of the taste ; and they visited 
the sedge-bird's nest, and from thence struck across the 
country in high glee, beating the hedges and brakes as 
they went along ; and Arthur at last, to his intense delight, 
was allowed to climb a small hedgerow oak for a magpie's 
nest with Tom, who kept all round him like a mother, and 
showed him where to hold and how to throw his weight ; 
and though he was in a great fright, didn't show it; and 
was applauded by all for his lissomness. 

They crossed a road soon afterwards, and there close to 
them lay a heap of -charming pebbles. 

' Look here,' shouted East, ' here 's luck ! I've been long- 
ing for some good honest pecking this half-hour. Let 's fill 
the bags, and have no more of this foozling bird's-nesting,' 

No one objected, so each boy filled the fustian bag he 
carried full of stones : they crossed into the next field, 
Tom and East taking one side of the hedges, and the 
other two the other side. Noise enough they made cer- 
tainly, but it was too early in the season for the young 
birds, and the old birds were too strong on the wing for 
our young marksmen, and flew out of shot after the first 
discharge. But it was great fun, rushing along the hedge- 
rows, and discharging stone after stone at blackbirds and 

[301 ] 


chaffinches, though no result in the shape of slaughtered 
birds was obtained ; and Arthur soon entered into it, and 
rushed to head back the birds, and shouted, and threw, 
and tumbled into ditches and over and through hedges, as 
wild as the Madman himself. 

Presently the party, in full cry after an old blackbird 
(who was evidently used to the thing and enjoyed the fun, 
for he would wait till they came close to him and then fly 
on for forty yards or so, and, with an impudent flicker of 
his tail, dart into the depths of the quickset), came beating 
down a high double hedge, two on each side. 

'There he is again,' 'Head him,' 'Let drive,' 'I had 
him there,' 'Take care where you're throwing, Madman,' 
the shouts might have been heard a quarter of a mile off. 
They were heard some two hundred yards off by a farmer 
and two of his shepherds, who were doctoring sheep in a 
fold in the next field. 

Now, the farmer in question rented a house and yard 
situate at the end of the field in which the young bird- 
fanciers had arrived, which house and yard he did n't 
occupy or keep any one else in. Nevertheless, like a brain- 
less and unreasoning Briton, he persisted in maintaining 
on the premises a large stock of cocks, hens, and other 
poultry. Of course, all sorts of depredators visited the place 
from time to time : foxes and gipsies wrought havoc in the 
night ; while in the day-time, I regret to have to confess 
that visits from the Rugby boys, and consequent disappear- 
ances of ancient and respectable fowls, were not unfrequent. 
Tom and East had during the period of their outlawry 
visited the barn in question for felonious purposes, and on 
one occasion had conquered and slain a duck there, and 

[302 ] 


borne away the carcass triumphantly, hidden in their hand- 
kerchiefs. However, they were sickened of the practice by 
the trouble and anxiety which the wretched duck's body 
caused them. They carried it to Sally Harrowell's, in hopes 
of a good supper ; but she, after examining it, made a long 
face, and refused to dress or have anything to do with it. 
Then they took it into their study, and began plucking it 
themselves ; but what to do with the feathers, where to 
hide them .'' 

' Good gracious, Tom, what a lot of feathers a duck 
has ! ' groaned East, holding a bagful in his hand, and 
looking disconsolately at the carcass, not yet half plucked. 

'And I do think he's getting high too, already,' said 
Tom, smelling at him cautiously, ' so we must finish him 
up soon.' 

'Yes, all very well, but how are we to cook him.-* I'm 
sure I ain't going to try it on in the hall or passages ; we 
can't afford to be roasting ducks about, our character 's 
too bad.' 

' I wish we were rid of the brute,' said Tom, throwing 
him on the table in disgust. And after a day or two more 
it became clear that got rid of he must be ; so they packed 
him and sealed him up in brown paper, and put him in 
the cupboard of an unoccupied study, where he was found 
in the holidays by the matron, a gruesome body. 

They had never been duck-hunting there since, but 
others had, and the bold yeoman was very sore on the 
subject, and bent on making an example of the first boys 
he could catch. So he and his shepherds crouched behind 
the hurdles, and watched the party wiio were approaching 
all unconscious. 



Why should that old guinea-fowl be lying out in the 
hedge just at this particular moment of all the year ? Who 
can say ? Guinea-fowls always are — so are all other things, 
animals, and persons requisite for getting one into scrapes, 
always ready when any mischief can come of them. At any 
rate, just under East's nose popped out the old guinea-hen, 
scuttling along and shrieking ' Come back, come back,' at 
the top of her voice. Either of the other three might per- 
haps have withstood the temptation, but East first lets drive 
the stone he has in his hand at her, and then rushes to 
turn her into the hedge again. He succeeds, and then they 
are all at it for dear life, up and down the hedge in full cry, 
the ' Come back, come back,' getting shriller and fainter 
every minute. 

Meantime, the farmer and his men steal over the hurdles 
and creep down the hedge towards the scene of action. 
They are almost within a stone's throw of Martin, who is 
pressing the unlucky chase hard, when Tom catches sight 
of them, and sings out, ' Louts, 'ware louts, your side ! 
Madman, look ahead ! ' and then, catching hold of Arthur, 
hurries him away across the field towards Rugby as hard as 
they can tear. Had he been by himself, he would have 
stayed to see it out with the others, but now his heart sinks 
and all his pluck goes. The idea- of being led up to the 
Doctor with Arthur for bagging fowls quite unmans and 
takes half the run out of him. 

However, no boys are more able to take care of them- 
selves than East and Martin ; they dodge the pursuers, 
slip through a gap, and come pelting after Tom and Arthur, 
whom they catch up in no time ; the farmer and his men 
are making good running about a field behind. Tom wishes 




to himself that they had made off in any other direction, 
but now they are all in for it together, and must see it out. 
* You won't leave the young un, will you ? ' says he, as they 
haul poor little Arthur, already losing wirid from the fright, 
through the next hedge. ' Not we,' is the answer from 
both. The next hedge is a stiff one ; the pursuers gain 
horribly on them, and they only just pull Arthur through, 
with two great rents in his trousers, as the foremost shep- 
herd comes- up on the other side. As they start into the 
next field, they are aware of two figures walking down the 
footpath in the middle of it, and recognize Holmes and 
Diggs taking a constitutional. Those good-natured fellows 
immediately shout ' On.' ' Let 's go to them and surrender,' 
pants Tom. — Agreed. — And in another minute the four 
boys, to the great astonishment of those worthies, rush 
breathless up to Holmes and Diggs, who pull up to see 
what is the rnatter ; and then the whole is explained by the 
appearance of the farmer and his men, who unite their 
forces and bear down on the knot of boys. 

There is no time to explain, and Tom's heart beats 
frightfully quick, as he ponders, ' Will they stand by us .'' ' 

The farmer makes a rush at East and collars him ; and that 
young gentleman, with unusual discretion, instead of kicking 
his shins, looks appealingly at Holmes and stands still, 

' Hullo there, not so fast,' says Holmes, who is bound 
to stand up for them till they are proved in the wrong. 
' Now what 's all this about .'' ' 

'I've got the young varmint at last, have I,' pants the 
farmer ; ' why they 've been a-skulking about my yard and 
stealing my fowls, that 's where 't is ; and if I doan't have they 
flogged for it, every one on 'em, my name ain't Thompson.' 



Holmes looks grave and Diggs's face falls. They are 
quite ready to fight, no boys in the school more so ; but 
they are praepostors, and understand their office, and can't 
uphold unrighteous causes. 

'I haven't been near his old barn this half,' cries East. 
'Nor I,' 'Nor I,' chime in Tom and Martin. 

' Now, Willum, did n't you see 'm there last week ? ' 

* Ees, I seen 'em sure enough,' says Willum, grasping a 
prong he carried, and preparing for action. 

The boys deny stoutly, and Willum is driven to admit 
that, 'if it worn't they 'twas chaps as like 'em as two 
peas'n'; and 'leastways, he'll swear he see'd them two in 
the yard last Martinmas,' indicating East and Tom. 

Holmes has had time to meditate. ' Now, sir,' says he to 
Willum, 'you see you can't remember what you have seen, 
and I believe the boys.' 

'I doan't care,' blusters the farmer; 'they was arter my 
fowls to-day, that's enough for I. Willum, you catch hold 
o' t'other chap. They 've been a-sneaking about this two 
hours, I tells 'ee,' shouted he, as Holmes stands between 
Martin and Willum, ' and have druv a matter of a dozen 
young pullets pretty nigh to death.' 

' Oh, there 's a whacker ! ' cried East ; ' we have n't been 
within a hundred yards of his barn ; we have n't been 
up here above ten minutes, and we 've seen nothing but a 
tough old guinea-hen, who ran like a greyhound.' 

' Indeed, that 's all true. Holmes, upon my honour,' added 
Tom; 'we weren't after his fowls; guinea-hen ran out of 
the hedge under our feet, and we 've seen nothing else.' 

' Drat their talk. Thee catch hold o' t'other, Willum, 
and come along wi' un.' 



'Farmer Thompson,' said Holmes, warning off Willum 
and the prong with his stick, while Diggs faced the other 
shepherd, cracking his fingers like pistol shots, ' now lis- 
ten to reason — the boys haven't been after your fowls, 
that 's plain.' 

' Tells 'ee I see'd 'em. Who be you, I should like to 
know .-• ' 

' Never you mind. Farmer,' answered Holmes. ' And 
now I '11 just tell you what it is — you ought to be ashamed 
of yourself for leaving all that poultry about, with no one 
to watch it, so near the School. You deserve to have it 
all stolen. So if you choose to come up to the Doctor with 
them, I shall go with you, and tell him what I think of it.' 

The farmer began to take Holmes for a master ; besides, 
he wanted to get back to his flock. Corporal punishment 
was out of the question, the odds were too great ; so he 
began to hint at paying for the damage. Arthur jumped at 
this, offering to pay anything, and the farmer immediately 
valued the guinea-hen at half a sovereign. 

' Half a sovereign ! ' cried East, now released from the 
farmer's grip; 'well, that is a good one! the old hen ain't 
hurt a bit, and she 's seven years old, I know, and as tough 
as whipcord ; she could n't lay another egg to save her life.' 

It was at last settled that they should pay the farmer two 
shillings, and his man one shilling, and so the matter ended, 
to the unspeakable relief of Tom, who had n't been able to 
say a word, being sick at heart at the idea of what the Doc- 
tor would think of him : and now the whole party of boys 
marched off down the footpath towards Rugby. Holmes, 
who was one of the best boys in the School, began to im- 
prove the occasion. ' Now, you youngsters,' said he, as he 



marched along in the middle of them, ' mind this ; you 're 
very well out of this scrape. Don't you go near Thompson's 
barn again, do you hear ? ' 

Profuse promises from all, especially East. 

'Mind, I don't ask questions,' went on Mentor, 'but I 
rather think some of you have been there before this after 
his chickens. Now, knocking over other people's chickens, 
and running off with them, is stealing. It 's a nasty word, 
but that 's the plain English of- it. If the chickens were 
dead and lying in a shop, you wouldn't take them, I know 
that, any more than you would apples out of Griffith's bas- 
ket ; but there 's no real difference between chickens running 
about and apples on a tree, and the same articles in a shop. 
I wish our morals were sounder in such matters. There 's 
nothing so mischievous as these school distinctions, which 
jumble up right and wrong, and justify things in us for 
which poor boys would be sent to prison.' And good old 
Holmes delivered his soul on the walk home of many wise 
sayings, and, as the .song says — 

' Gee'd 'em a sight of good advice ' — 

which same sermon sank into them all more or less, and 
very penitent they were for several hours. But truth com- 
pels me to admit that East, at any rate, forgot it all in a 
week, but remembered the insult which had been put upon 
him by Farmer Thompson, and with the Tadpole and other 
hair-brained youngsters, committed a raid on the barn soon 
afterwards, in which they were caught by the shepherds 
and severely handled, besides having to pay eight shillings, 
all the money they had in the world, to escape being taken 
•Ap k) the Doctor. 

[ 309 ] 


Martin became a constant inmate in the joint study from 
this time, and Arthur took to him so kindly that Tom 
could n't resist slight fits of jealousy, which, however, he 
managed to keep to himself. The kestrel's eggs had not 
been broken, strange to say, and formed the nucleus of 
Arthur's collection, at which Martin worked heart and soul ; 
and introduced Arthur to Howlett the bird-fancier, and in- 
structed him in the rudiments of the art of stuffing. In 
token of his gratitude, Arthur allowed Martin to tattoo a 
small anchor on one of his wrists, which decoration, how- 
ever, he carefully concealed from Tom. Before the end of 
the half-year he had trained into a bold climber and good 
runner, and, as Martin had foretold, knew twice as much 
about trees, birds, flowers, and many other things, as our 
good-hearted and facetious young friend Harry East. 


' Surgebat Macnevisius 
Et mox jactabat ultra, 
Pugnabo tua gratia 
Feroci hoc Mactwoltro ' 


HERE is a certain sort of fellow — we 
who are used to studying boys all know 
him well enough — of whom you can 
predicate with almost positive certainty, 
after he has been a month at school, 
that he is sure to have a fight, and with 
almost equal certainty that he will have but one. Tom 
Brown was one of these ; and as it is our well-weighed 
intention to give a full, true, and correct account of Tom's 
only single combat with a school-fellow in the manner of 
our old friend Bell's Life, let those young persons whose 
stomachs arc not strong, or who think a good set-to with 



the weapons which God has given us all an uncivilized, 
unchristian, or ungentlemanly affair, just skip this chapter 
at once, for it won't be to their taste. 

It was not at all usual in those days for two School-house 
boys to have a fight. Of course, there were exceptions, 
when some cross-grained, hard-headed fellow came up who 
would never be happy unless he was quarrelling with his 
nearest neighbours, or when there was some class-dispute, 
between the fifth-form and the fags, for instance, which 
required blood-letting ; and a champion was picked out on 
each side tacitly, who settled the matter by a good hearty 
mill. But for the most part, the constant use of those sur- 
est keepers of the peace, the boxing-gloves, kept the School- 
house boys from fighting one another. Two or three nights 
in every week the gloves were brought out, either in the 
hall or fifth-form room ; and every boy who was ever likely 
to fight at all knew all his neighbours' prowess perfectly 
well, and could tell to a nicety what chance he would have 
in a stand-up fight with any other boy in the house. But, of 
course, no such experience could be gotten as regarded boys in 
other houses, and as most of the other houses were more or 
less jealous of the School-house, collisions were frequent. 

After all, what would life be without fighting, I should 
like to know ? From the cradle to the grave, fighting, 
rightly understood, is the business, the real, highest, honest- 
est business of ever)^ son of man. Every one who is 
worth his salt has his enemies, who must be beaten, be 
they evil thoughts and habits in himself or spiritual wicked- 
nesses in high places, or Russians, or Border-rufhans, or 
Bill, Tom, or Harry, who will not let him live his life in 
quiet till he has thrashed them. 



It is no good for Quakers, or any other body of men, to 
uplift their voices against fighting. Human nature is too 
strong for them, and they don't follow their own precepts. 
Every soul of them is doing his own piece of fighting, 
somehow and somewhere. The world might be a better 
world without fighting, for anything I know, but it would n't 
be our world ; and therefore I am dead against crying peace 
when there is no peace, and is n't meant to be. I am as 
sorry as any man to see folk fighting the wrong people and 
the wrong things, but I'd a deal sooner see them doing 
that, than that they should have no fight in them. So hav- 
ing recorded, and being about to record, my hero's fights 
of all sorts, with all sorts of enemies, I shall now proceed 
to give an account of his passage-at-arms with the only one 
of his school-fellows whom he ever had to encounter in 
this manner. 

It was drawing towards the close of Arthur's first half- 
year, and the May evenings were lengthening out. Locking- 
up was not till eight o'clock, and everybody was beginning 
to talk about what he would do in the holidays. The shell, 
in which form all our dramatis personae now are, were 
reading amongst other things the last book of Homer's 
Iliad, and had worked through it as far as the speeches of 
the women over Hector's body. It is a whole school-day, 
and four or five of the School-house boys (amongst whom 
are Arthur, Tom, and East) are preparing third lesson 
together. They have finished the regulation forty lines, 
and are for the most part getting very tired, notwithstand- 
ing the exquisite pathos of Helen's lamentation. And now 
several long four-syllabled words come together, and the 
boy with the dictionary strikes work. 


' I am not going to look out any more words, ' says he ; 
* we 've done the quantity. Ten to one we shan't get so far. 
Let's go out into the close.' 

* Come along, boys,' cries East, always ready to leave the 
grind, as he called it ; ' our old coach is laid up, you know, 
and we shall have one of the new masters, who 's sure to 
go slow and let us down easy.' 

So an adjournment to the close was carried nem. con., 
little Arthur not daring to uplift his voice ; but, being 
deeply interested in what they were reading, stayed quietly 
behind, and learnt on for his own pleasure. 

As East had said, the regular master of the form was 
unwell, and they were to be heard by one of the new mas- 
ters, quite a young man, who had only just left the Univer- 
sity. Certainly it would be hard lines if, by dawdling as 
much as possible in coming in and taking their places, en- 
tering into long-winded explanations of what was the usual 
course of the regular master of the form, and others of the 
stock contrivances of boys for wasting time in school, they 
could not spin out the lesson so that he should not work 
them through more than the forty lines ; as to which quantity 
there was a perpetual fight going on between the master 
and his form, the latter insisting, and enforcing by passive 
resistance, that it was the prescribed quantity of Homer for 
a shell lesson, the former that there was no fixed quantity, 
but that they must always be ready to go on to fifty or sixty 
lines if there were time within the hour. However, notwith- 
standing all their efforts, the new master got on horribly 
quick ; he seemed to have the bad taste to be really inter- 
ested in the lesson, and to be trying to work them up into 
something like appreciation of it, giving them good spirited 



English words, instead of the wretched bald stuff into which 
they rendered poor old Homer ; and construing over each 
piece himself to them, after each boy, to show them how 
it should be done. 

Now the clock strikes the three-quarters ; there is only 
a quarter of an hour more ; but the forty lines are all but 
done. So the boys, one after another, who are called up, 
stick more and more, and make balder and ever more bald 
work of it. The poor young master is pretty near beat by 
this time, and feels ready to knock his head against the wall, 
or his fingers against somebody else's head. So he gives 
up altogether the lower and middle parts of the form, and 
looks round in despair at the boys on the top bench, to see 
if there is one out of whom he can strike a spark or two, 
and who will be too chivalrous to murder the most beautiful 
utterances of the most beautiful woman of the old world. 
His eye rests on Arthur, and he calls him up to finish 
construing Helen's speech. Whereupon all the other boys 
draw long breaths, and begin to stare about and take it 
easy. They are all safe ; Arthur is the head of the form, 
and sure to be able to construe, and that will tide on safely 
till the hour strikes. 

Arthur proceeds to read out the passage in Greek before 
construing it, as the custom is. Tom, who is n't paying 
much attention, is suddenly caught by the falter in his voice 
as he reads the two lines — 

aXAa (TV Tov y CTTcecrfrt 7rapatc^a/x€vo5 KarepvKe^, 
2// T dyuvoc^pocrvvry Koi <Joi? ayapoi<; tTreecrcriv. 

He looks up at Arthur. 'Why, bless us,' thinks he, 'what 
can be the matter with the young un ? He 's never going 



to get floored. He 's sure to have learnt to the end,' Next 
moment he is reassured by the spirited tone in which Arthur 
begins construing, and betakes himself to drawing dogs' 
heads in his note-book, while the master, evidently enjoying 
the change, turns his back on the middle bench and stands 
before Arthur, beating a sort of time with his hand and 
foot, and saying, 'Yes, yes,' 'very well,' as Arthur goes on. 

But as he nears the fatal two lines, Tom catches that 
falter and again looks up. He sees that there is something 
the matter, Arthur can hardly get on at all. What can it be. 

Suddenly at this point Arthur breaks down altogether, 
and fairly bursts out crying, and dashes the- cuff of his 
jacket across his eyes, blushing up to the roots of his 
hair, and feeling as if he should like to go down suddenly 
through the floor. The whole form are taken aback ; most 
of them stare stupidly at him, while those who are gifted 
with presence of mind find their places and look steadily 
at their books, in hopes of not catching the master's eye 
and getting called up in Arthur's place. 

The master looks puzzled for a moment, and then seeing, 
as the fact is, that the boy is really affected to tears by the 
most touching thing in Homer, perhaps in all profane poetry 
put together, steps up to him and lays his hand kindly on 
his shoulder, saying, * Never mind, my little man, you 've 
construed very well. Stop a minute. There 's no hurry.' 

Now, as luck would have it, there sat next above Tom 
on that day, in the middle bench of the form, a big boy, by 
name Williams, generally supposed to be the cock of the 
shell, therefore of all the school below the fifths. The small 
boys, who are great speculators on the prowess of their 
elders, used to hold forth to one another about Williams's 



great strength, and to discuss whether East or Brown would 
take a licking from him. He was called Slogger Williams, 
from the force with which it was supposed he could hit. 
In the main, he was a rough, good-natured fellow enough, 
but very much alive to his own dignity. He reckoned him- 
self the king of the form, and kept up his position with the 
strong hand, especially in the matter of forcing boys not 
to construe more than the legitimate forty lines. He had 
already grunted and grumbled to himself, when Arthur went 
on reading beyond the forty lines. But now that he had 
broken down just in the middle of all the long words, the 
Slogger's wrath was fairly roused. 

'Sneaking little brute,' muttered he, regardless of pru- 
dence, ' clapping on the water- works just in the hardest 
place ; see if I don't punch his head after fourth lesson.' 

' Whose .-* ' said Tom, to whom the remark seemed to be 

'Why, that little sneak, Arthur's,' replied Williams. 

* No, you shan't,'- said Tom. 

' Hullo ! ' exclaimed Williams, looking at Tom with great 
surprise for a moment, and then giving him a sudden dig 
in the ribs with his elbow, which sent Tom's books flying 
on to the floor, and called the attention of the master, who 
turned suddenly round, and seeing the state of things, said : 

'Williams, go down three places, and then go on.' 

The Slogger found his legs very slowly, and proceeded 
to go below Tom and two other boys with great disgust, and 
then, turning round and facing the master, said, ' I have n't 
learnt any more, sir ; our lesson is only forty lines.' 

' Is that so ? ' said the master, appealing generally to the 
top bench. No answer. 



'Who is the head boy of the form ? ' said he, waxing wrath. 

'Arthur, sir,' answered three or four boys, indicating our 

' Oh, your name 's Arthur. Well, now, what is the length 
of your regular lesson ? ' 

Arthur hesitated a moment, and then said, ' We call it 
only forty lines, sir.' 

' How do you mean, you call it ? ' 

' Well, sir, Mr. Graham says we ain't to stop there, when 
there 's time to construe more.' 

'I understand,' said the master. 'Williams, go down 
three more places, and write me out the lesson in Greek 
and English. And now, Arthur, finish construing.' 

' Oh ! would I be in Arthur's shoes after fourth lesson ? ' 
said the little boys to one another ; but Arthur finished 
Helen's speech without any further catastrophe, and the 
clock struck four, which ended third lesson. 

Another hour was occupied in preparing and saying fourth 
lesson, during which Williams was bottling up his wrath ; 
and when five struck, and the lessons for the day were over, 
he prepared to take summary vengeance on the innocent 
cause of his misfortune. 

Tom was detained in school a few minutes after the rest, 
and on coming out into the quadrangle, the first thing he 
saw was a small ring of boys, applauding Williams, who was 
holding Arthur by the collar. 

'There, you young sneak,' said he, giving Arthur a 
cuff on the head with his other hand, ' what made you say 
that — ' 

' Hullo ! ' said Tom, shouldering into the crowd, ' you 
drop that, Williams ; you shan't touch him.' 





'Who'll stop me?' said the Slogger, raising his hand again. 

' I,' said Tom ; and, suiting the action to the word, struck 
the arm which held Arthur's arm so sharply that the Slog- 
ger dropped it with a start, and turned the full current of 
his wrath on Tom. 

' Will you fight ? ' 

* Yes, of course.' 

' Huzza, there 's going to be a fight between Slogger 
Williams and Tom Brown ! ' 

The news ran like wild-fire about, and many boys who 
were on their way to tea at their several houses turned back, 
and sought the back of the chapel, where the fights come off. 

'Just run and tell East to come and back me,' said Tom 
to a small School-house boy, who was off like a rocket to 
Harrowell's, just stopping for a moment to poke his head 
into the School-house hall, where the lower boys were 
already at tea, and sing out, ' Fight ! Tom Brown and 
Slogger Williams.' 

Up start half the boys at once, leaving bread, eggs, but- 
ter, sprats, and all the rest to take care of themselves. The 
greater part of the remainder follow in a minute, after 
swallowing their tea, carrying their food in their hands to 
consume as they go. Three or four only remain, who steal 
the butter of the more impetuous, and make to themselves 
an unctuous feast. 

In another minute East and Martin tear through the 
quadrangle, carrying a sponge, and arrive at the scene of 
action just as the combatants are beginning to strip. 

Tom felt he had got his work cut out for him, as he 
stripped off his jacket, waistcoat, and braces. East tied his 
handkerchief round his waist, and rolled up his shirt-sleeves 



for him : ' Now, old boy, don't you open your mouth to say 
a word, or try to help yourself a bit ; we '11 do all that. You 
keep all your breath and strength for the Slogger.' Martin 
meanwhile folded the clothes, and put them under the 
chapel rails ; and now Tom, with East to handle him and 
Martin to give him a knee, steps out on the turf, and is 
ready for all that may come ; and here is the Slogger, too, 
all stripped, and thirsting for the fray. 

It doesn't look a fair match at first glance: Williams is 
nearly two inches taller, and probably a long year older than 
his opponent, and he is very strongly made about the arms 
and shoulders — 'peels well,' as the little knot of big fifth- 
form boys, the amateurs, say — who stand outside the ring of 
little boys, looking complacently on, but taking no active 
part in the proceedings. But down below he is not so good 
by any means ; no spring from the loins, and feeblish, not 
to say shipwrecky, about the knees. Tom, on the contrary, 
though not half so strong in the arms, is good all over, 
straight, hard, and springy, from neck to ankle, better 
perhaps in his legs than anywhere. Besides, you can see 
by the clear white of his eye, and fresh, bright look of his 
skin, that he is in tip-top training, able to do all he knows ; 
while the Slogger looks rather sodden, as if he didn't take 
much exercise and ate too much tuck. The timekeeper is 
chosen, a large ring made, and the two stand up opposite 
one another for a moment, giving us time just to make our 
little observations. 

' If Tom '11 only condescend to fight with his head and 
heels,' as East mutters to Martin, 'we shall do.' 

But seemingly he won't, for there he goes in, making play 
with both hands. Hard all, is the word ; the two stand to 



one another like men ; rally follows rally in quick succession, 
each fighting as if he thought to finish the whole thing out 
of hand. ' Can't last at this rate,' say the knowing ones, while 
the partisans of each make the air ring with their shouts and 
counter-shouts, of encouragement, approval, and defiance. 

* Take it easy, take it easy — keep away, let him come 
after you,' implores East, as he wipes Tom's face aftef the 
first round with a wet sponge, while he sits back on Martin's 
knee, supported by the Madman's long arms, which tremble 
a little from excitement. 

'Time's up,' calls the timekeeper. 

' There he goes again, hang it all ! ' growls East, as his 
man is at it again, as hard as ever. A very severe round 
follows, in which Tom gets out and out the worst of it, and 
is at last hit clean off his legs, and deposited on the grass 
by a right-hander from the Slogger. 

Loud shouts rise from the boys of Slogger's house, and 
the School-house are silent and vicious, ready to pick quarrels 

'Two to one in half-crowns on the big un,' says Rattle, 
one of the amateurs, a tall fellow, in thunder-and-lightning 
waistcoat, and puffy, good-natured face. 

' Done ! ' says Groove, another amateur of quieter look, 
taking out his note-book to enter it, for our friend Rattle 
sometimes forgets these little things. 

Meantime East is freshening up Tom with the sponges 
for next round, and has set two other boys to rub his hands. 

* Tom, old boy,' whispers he, ' this may be fun for you, 
but it 's death to me. He '11 hit all the fight out of you in 
another five minutes, and then I shall go and drown myself 
in the island ditch. Feint him — use your legs ! draw him 




about ! he '11 lose his wind then in no time, and you can 
go into him. Hit at his body too ; we '11 take care of his 
frontispiece by and by.' 

Tom felt the wisdom of the counsel, and saw already that 
he could n't go in and finish the Slogger off at mere hammer 
and tongs, so changed his tactics completely in the third 
round. He now fights cautious, getting away from and par- 
rying the Slogger's lunging hits, instead of trying to counter, 
and leading his enemy a dance all round the ring after him. 
'He's funking; go in, Williams,' 'Catch him up,' 'Finish 
him off,' scream the small boys of the Slogger party. 

'Just what we want,' thinks East, chuckling to himself, as 
he sees Williams, excited by these shouts, and thinking the 
game in his own hands, blowing himself in his exertions 
to get to close quarters again, while Tom is keeping away 
with perfect ease. 

They quarter over the ground again and again, Tom 
always on the defensive. 

The Slogger pulls up at last for a moment, fairly blown. 

' Now then, Tom,' sings out East, dancing with delight. 
Tom goes in in a twinkling, and hits two heavy body blows, 
and gets away again before the Slogger can catch his wind ; 
which when he does he rushes with blind fury at Tom, and 
being skilfully parried and avoided, over-reaches himself, 
and falls on his face, amidst terrific cheers from the School- 
house boys. 

' Double your two to one ? ' says Groove to Rattle, note- 
book in hand. 

' Stop a bit,' says that hero, looking uncomfortably at 
Williams, who is puffing away on his second's knee, winded 
enough, but little the worse in any other way. 



After another round the Slogger, too, seems to see that 
he can't go in and win right off, and has met his match or 
thereabouts. So he, too, begins to use his head, and tries 
to make Tom lose patience, and come in before his time. 
And so the fight sways on, now one and now the other 
getting a trifling pull. 

Tom's face begins to look very one-sided — there are 
little queer bumps on his forehead, and his mouth is bleed- 
ing ; but East keeps the wet sponge going so scientifically 
that he comes up looking as fresh and bright as ever. 
Williams is only slightly marked in the face, but by the 
nervous movement of his elbows you can see that Tom's 
body blows are telling. In fact, half the vice of the Slogger's 
hitting is neutralized, for he dare n't lunge out freely for 
fear of exposing his sides. It is too interesting by this time 
for much shouting, and the whole ring is very quiet. 

'All right. Tommy,' whispers East ; * hold on 's the horse 
that 's to win. We 've got the last. Keep your head, old boy.' 

But where is Arthur all this time ? Words cannot paint 
the poor little fellow's distress. He could n't muster courage 
to come up to the ring, but wandered up and down from 
the great fives-court to the corner of the chapel rails, now 
trying to make up his mind to throw himself between them, 
and try to stop them ; then thinking of running in and 
telling his friend Mary, who, he knew, would instantly 
report to the Doctor. The stories he had heard of men 
being killed in prize-fights" rose up horribly before him. 

Once only, when the shouts of ' Well done. Brown ! ' 
' Huzza for the School-house ! ' rose higher than ever, he 
ventured up to the ring, thinking the victory was won. 
Catching sight of Tom's face in the state I have described, 



all fear of consequences vanishing out of his mind, he 
rushed straight off to the matron's room, beseeching her to 
get the fight stopped, or he should die. 

But it's time for us to get back to the close. What is 
this fierce tumult and confusion ? The ring is broken, and 
high and angry words are being bandied about : ' It 's all 
fair,' — 'It is n't,' — ' No hugging ' ; the fight is stopped. 
The combatants, however, sit there quietly, tended by their 
seconds, while their adherents wrangle in the middle. East 
can't help shouting challenges to two or three of the other 
side, though he never leaves Tom for a moment, and plies 
the sponges as fast as ever. 

The fact is, that at the end of the last round, Tom, seeing 
a good opening, had closed with his opponent, and after a 
moment's struggle, had thrown him heavily, by help of the 
fall he had learnt from his village rival in the Vale of White 
Horse. Williams had n't the ghost of a chance with Tom at 
wrestling ; and the conviction broke at once on the Slogger 
faction that if this were allowed their man must be licked. 
There was a strong feeling in the school against catching hold 
and throwing, though it was generally ruled all fair within 
certain limits ; so the ring was broken and the fight stopped. 

The School-house are over-ruled — the fight is on again, 
but there is to be no throwing ; and East in high wrath 
threatens to take his man away after next round (which 
he don't mean to do, by the way), when suddenly young 
Brooke comes through the small gate at the end of the 
chapel. The School-house faction rush to him. ' Oh, hurra ! 
now we shall get fair play.' 

' Please, Brooke, come up, they won't let Tom Brown 
throw him.' 



* Throw whom ? ' says Brooke, coming up to the ring. 
' Oh ! WilHams, I see. Nonsense ! Of course he may 
throw him, if he catches him fairly above the waist.' 

Now, young Brooke, you 're in the sixth, you know, and 
you ought to stop all fights. He looks hard at both boys. 
'Anything wrong,?' says he to East, nodding at Tom. 

* Not a bit.' 

* Not beat at all ? ' 

* Bless you, no ! Heaps of fight in him. Ain't there, 
Tom ? ' 

Tom looks at Brooke and grins. 

* How 's he } ' nodding at Williams. 

' So, so ; rather done, I think, since his last fall. He 
won't stand above two more.' 

' Time 's up ! ' The boys rise again and face one another. 
Brooke can't find it in his heart to stop them just yet, 
so the round goes on, the Slogger waiting for Tom, and 
reserving all his strength to hit him out should he come 
in for the wrestling dodge again, for he feels that that must 
be stopped, or his sponge will soon go up in the air. 

And now another new-comer appears on the field, to wit, 
the under-pofter, with his long brush and great wooden 
receptacle for dust under his arm. He has been sweeping 
out the schools. 

'You'd better stop, gentlemen,' he says; 'the Doctor 
knows that Brown's fighting — he'll be out in a minute.' 

'You go to Bath, Bill,' is all that that excellent servitor 
gets by his advice. And being a man of his hands, and a 
staunch upholder of the School-house, can't help stopping 
to look on for a bit and see Tom Brown, their pet crafts- 
man, fight a round, 



It is grim earnest now, and no mistake. Both boys feel 
this, and summon every power of head, hand, and eye to 
their aid. A piece of luck on either side, a foot shpping, 
a blow getting well home, or another fall, may decide it. 
Tom works slowly round for an opening ; he has all the 
legs, and can choose his own time ; the Slogger waits for 
the attack, and hopes to finish it by some heavy right- 
handed blow. As they quarter slowly over the ground, the 
evening sun comes out from behind a cloud and falls full 
on Williams's face. Tom darts in, the heavy right-hand is 
delivered, but only grazes his head. A short rally at close 
quarters, and they close ; in another moment the Slogger 
is thrown again heavily for the third time. 

' I '11 give you three to two on the little one in half- 
crowns,' said Groove to Rattle. 

' No, thank 'ee,' answers the other, diving his hands 
further into his coat-tails. 

Just at this stage of the proceedings the door of the tur- 
ret which leads to the Doctor's library suddenly opens, and 
he steps into the close, and makes straight for the ring, in 
which Brown and the Slogger are both seated on their 
seconds' knees for the last time. 

' The Doctor ! the Doctor ! ' shouts some small boy who 
catches sight of him, and the ring melts away in a few 
seconds, the small boys tearing off, Tom collaring his 
jacket and waistcoat, and slipping through the little gate by 
the chapel, and round the corner to Harrowell's with his 
backers, as lively as need be ; Williams and his backers 
making off not quite so fast across the close ; Groove, 
Rattle, and the other bigger fellows trying to combine 
dignity and prudence in a comical manner, and walking off 



fast enough, they hope, not to be recognized, and not fast 
enough to look Hke running away. 

Young Brooke alone remains on the ground by the time 
the Doctor gets there, and touches his hat, not without 
a slight inward qualm. 

' Ha ! Brooke. I am surprised to see you here. Don't 
you know that I expect the sixth to stop fighting ? ' 

Brooke felt much more uncomfortable than he had 
expected, but he was rather a favourite with the Doctor 
for his openness and plainness of speech ; so blurted out, 
as he walked by the Doctor's side, who had already turned 
back : 

' Yes, sir, generally. But I thought you wished us to 
exercise a discretion in the matter, too — not to interfere 
too soon.' 

' But they have been fighting this half- hour and more,' 
said the Doctor. 

' Yes, sir ; but neither was hurt. And they 're the sort 
of boys who '11 be all the better friends now, which they 
wouldn't have been 'if they had been stopped any earlier — 
before it was so equal.' 

' Who was fighting with Brown .'' ' said the Doctor. 

' Williams, sir, of Thompson's. He is bigger than Brown, 
and had the best of it at first, but not when you came up, 
sir. There 's a good deal of jealousy between our house 
and Thompson's, and there would have been more fights if 
this had n't been let go on, or if either of them had had 
much the worst of it.' 

' Well, but, Brooke,' said the Doctor, 'doesn't this look a 
little as if you exercised your discretion by only stopping a 
fight when the School-house boy is getting the worst of it.^' 



Brooke, it must be confessed, felt rather gravelled. 

' Now remember,' added the Doctor, as he stopped at 
the turret-door, ' this fight is not to go on — you '11 see 
to that. And I expect you to stop all fights in future 
at once.' 

'Very well, sir,' said young Brooke, touching his hat, 
and not sorry to see the turret-door close behind the 
Doctor's back. 

Meantime Tom and the staunchest of his adherents had 
reached Harrowell's, and Sally was bustling about to get 
them a late tea, while Stumps had been sent off to Tew, 
the butcher, to get a piece of raw beef for Tom's eye, 
which was to be healed off-hand, so that he might show 
well in the morning. He was not a bit the worse, except a 
slight difficulty in his vision, a singing in his ears, and a 
sprained thumb, which he kept in a cold-water bandage, 
while he drank lots of tea, and listened to the Babel of 
voices talking and speculating of nothing but the fight, and 
how Williams would have given in after another fall (which 
he did n't in the least believe), and how on earth the Doctor 
could have got to know of it — such bad luck ! He could n't 
help thinking to himself that he was glad he had n't won ; 
he liked it better as it was, and felt very friendly to the 
Slogger. And then poor little Arthur crept in and sat 
down quietly near him, and kept looking at him and the 
raw beef with such plaintive looks that Tom at last burst 
out laughing. 

'Don't make such eyes, young un,' said he, 'there's 
nothing the matter.' 

'Oh, but, Tom, are you much hurt.'' I can't bear think- 
ing it was all for me.' 



' Not a bit of it, don't flatter yourself. We were sure to 
have had it out sooner or later.' 

' Well, but you won't go on, will you .? You '11 promise 
me you won't go on ? ' 

'Can't tell about that — all depends on the houses. 
We 're in the hands of our countrymen, you know. Must 
fight for the School-house flag, if so be.' 

However, the lovers of the science were doomed to dis- 
appointment this time. Directly after locking-up one of the 
night fags knocked at Tom's door. 

' Brown, young Brooke wants you in the sixth-form 

Up went Tom to the summons, and found the magnates 
sitting at their supper. 

'Well, Brown,' said young Brooke, nodding to him, 
' how do you feel .'' ' 

' Oh, very well, thank you, only I 've sprained my thumb, 
I think.' 

' Sure to do that in a fight. Well, you had n't the worst 
of it, I could see. WJiere did you learn that throw ? ' 

' Down in the country, when I was a boy.' 

' Hullo ! why, what are you now } Well, never mind, 
you 're a plucky fellow. Sit down and have some supper,' 

Tom obeyed, by no means loath. And the fifth-form boy 
next him filled him a tumbler of bottled-beer, and he ate 
and drank, listening to the pleasant talk, and wondering 
how soon he should be in the fifth, and one of that much- 
envied society. 

As he got up to leave, Brooke said, 'You must shake 
hands to-morrow morning. I shall come and see that done 
after first lesson.' 


And so he did. And Tom and the Slogger shook hands 
with great satisfaction and mutual respect. And for the 
next year or two, whenever fights were being talked of, the 
small boys who had been present shook their heads wisely, 
saying, ' Ah ! but you should just have seen the fight 
between Slogger Williams and Tom Brown ! ' 

And now, boys all, three words before we quit the sub- 
ject. I have put in this chapter on fighting of malice 
prepense, partly because I want to give you a true picture 
of what every-day school-life was in my time, and not a 
kid-glove and go-to-meeting-coat picture ; and partly be- 
cause of the cant and twaddle that 's talked of boxing 
and fighting with fists nowadays. Even Thackeray has 
given in to it ; and only a few weeks ago there was some 
rampant stuff in the Times on the subject, in an article on 
field sports. 

Boys will quarrel, and when they quarrel will sometimes 
fight. Fighting with fists is the natural and English way 
for English boys to settle their quarrels. What substitute 
for it is there, or ever was there, amongst any nation under 
the sun .? What would you like to see take its place .-' 

Learn to box, then, as you learn to play cricket and 
football. Not one of you will be the worse, but very much 
the better for learning to box well. Should you never have 
to use it in earnest, there 's no exercise in the world so 
good for the temper, and for the muscles of the back 
and legs. 

As to fighting, keep out of it if you can, by all means. 
When the time comes, if it ever should, that you have 
to say ' Yes ' or ' No ' to a challenge to fight, say ' No ' 
if you can — only take care you make it clear to yourselves 


,„r.-'^ ''■ 





'ah: f,ut vou shoui.I) just have seen the fight 
between slouger williams and tom brown!' 


why you say * No.' It 's a proof of the highest courage, if 
done from true Christian motives. It 's quite right and 
justifiable, if done from a simple aversion to physical pain 
and danger. But don't say ' No ' because you fear a lick- 
ing, and say or think it 's because you fear God, for that 's 
neither Christian nor honest. And if you do fight, fight it 
out ; and don't give in while you can stand and see. 


^T/jh our hope for all that V mortal. 
And we too shall burst the bond ; 
Death keeps watch beside the portal. 
But V is life that dzvells beyond. ' 

John Sterling 

WO years have passed since the events 
recorded in the last chapter, and the end 
of the summer half-year is again drawing 
on. Martin has left and gone on a cruise 
in the South Pacific in one of his uncle's 
ships ; the old magpie, as disreputable as 
ever, his last bequest to Arthur, lives in the joint study. 
Arthur is nearly sixteen, and at the head of the twenty, 
having gone up the School at the rate of a form a half- 
year. East and Tom have been much more deliberate in 
their progress, and arc only a little way up the fifth-form. 



Great strapping boys they are, but still thorough boys, filling 
about the same place in the house that young Brooke filled 
when they were new boys, and much the same sort of 
fellows. Constant intercourse with Arthur has done much 
for both of them, especially for Tom ; but much remains 
yet to be done, if they are to get all the good out of Rugby 
which is to be got there in these times. Arthur is still 
frail and delicate, with more spirit than body ; but, thanks 
to his intimacy with them and Martin, has learned to swim, 
and run, and play cricket, and has never hurt himself by 
too much reading. 

One evening, as they were all sitting down to supper 
in the fifth-form room, some one started a report that 
a fever had broken out at one of the boarding-houses ; 
'they say,' he added, 'that Thompson is very ill, and that 
Dr. Robertson has been sent for from Northampton.' 

'Then we shall all be sent home,' cried another. 
' Hurrah ! five weeks' extra holidays, and no fifth-form 
examination ! ' 

'I hope not,' said Tom; 'there'll be no Marylebone 
match then at the end of the half.' 

Some thought one thing, some another, many did n't 
believe the report ; but the next day, Tuesday, Dr. Robert- 
son arrived, and stayed all day, and had long conferences 
with the Doctor. 

On Wednesday morning, after prayers, the Doctor 
addressed the whole School. There were several cases of 
fever in different houses, he said ; but Dr. Robertson, after 
the most careful examination, had assured him that it was 
not infectious, and that if proper care were taken, there 
could be no reason for stopping the school work at present. 



The examinations were just coming on, and it would be 
very unadvisable to break up now. However, any boys who 
chose to do so were at Hberty to write home, and, if their 
parents wished it, to leave at once. He should send the 
whole School home if the fever spread. 

The next day Arthur sickened, but there was no other case. 
Before the end of the week thirty or forty boys had gone, 
but the rest stayed on. There was a general wish to please 
the Doctor, and a feeling that it was cowardly to run away. 

On the Saturday Thompson died, in the bright after- 
noon, while the cricket-match was going on as usual on 
the big-side ground : the Doctor coming from his death- 
bed, passed along the gravel-walk at the side of the close, 
but no one knew what had happened till the next day. At 
morning lecture it began to be rumoured, and by afternoon 
chapel was known generally ; and a feeling of seriousness 
and awe at the actual presence of death among them, came 
over the whole School. In all the long years of his min- 
istry the Doctor perhaps never spoke words which sank 
deeper than some of those in that day's sermon. ' When I 
came yesterday from visiting all but the very death-bed of 
him who has been taken from us, and looked around upon 
all the familiar objects and scenes within our own ground, 
where your common amusements were going on, with your 
common cheerfulness and activity, I felt there was nothing 
painful in witnessing that ; it did not seem in any way 
shocking or out of tune with those feelings which the sight 
of a dying Christian must be supposed to awaken. The 
unsuitableness in point of natural feeling between scenes 
of mourning and scenes of liveliness did not at all present 
itself. But I did feel that if at that moment any of those 



faults had been brought before me which sometimes occur 
amongst us ; had I heard that any of you had been guilty 
of falsehood, or of drunkenness, or of any other such sin ; 
had I heard from any quarter the language of profaneness, 
or of unkindness, or of indecency ; had I heard or seen 
any signs of that wretched folly, which courts the laugh of 
fools by affecting not to dread evil and not to care for 
good, then the unsuitableness of any of these things with 
the scene I had just quitted would indeed have been most 
intensely painful. And why ? Not because such things 
would really have been worse than at any other time, but 
because at such a moment the eyes are opened really to 
know good and evil, because we then feel what it is so to 
live as that death becomes an infinite blessing, and what it 
is so to live also, that it were good for us if we had never 
been born,' 

Tom had gone into chapel in sickening anxiety about 
Arthur, but he came out cheered and strengthened by those 
grand words, and walked up alone to their study. And 
when he sat down and looked round, and saw Arthur's 
straw-hat and cricket-jacket hanging on their pegs, and 
marked all his little neat arrangements, not one of which 
had been disturbed, the tears indeed rolled down his cheeks, 
but they were calm and blessed tears, and he repeated to 
himself, ' Yes, Geordie's eyes are opened — he knows what 
it is so to live as that death becomes an infinite blessing. 
But do I .'' O God, can I bear to lose him ? ' 

The week passed mournfully away. No more boys sick- 
ened, but Arthur was reported worse each day, and his 
mother arrived early in the week. Tom made many appeals 
to be allowed to see him, and several times tried to get up 

[ 338 ] 


to the sick-room ; but the housekeeper was ahvays in the 
way, and at last spoke to the Doctor, who kindly, but 
peremptorily, forbade him. 

Thompson was buried on the Tuesday, and the burial 
service, so soothing and grand always, but beyond all words 
solemn when read over a boy's grave to his companions, 
brought him much comfort, and many strange new thoughts 
and longings. He went back to his regular life, and played 
cricket and bathed as usual : it seemed to him that this 
was the right thing to do, and the new thoughts and long- 
ings became more brave and healthy for the effort. The 
crisis came on Saturday, the day week that Thompson had 
died ; and during that long afternoon Tom sat in his study 
reading his Bible, and going every half-hour to the house- 
keeper's room, expecting each time to hear that the gentle 
and brave little spirit had gone home. But God had work 
for Arthur to do : the crisis passed - — on Sunday evening 
he was declared out of danger ; on Monday he sent a 
message to Tom that he was almost well, had changed his 
room, and was to be allowed to see him the next day. 

It was evening when the housekeeper summoned him to 
the sick-room. Arthur was lying on the sofa by the open 
window, through which the rays of the western sun stole 
gently, lighting up his white face and golden hair. Tom 
remembered a German picture of an angel which he knew ; 
often had he thought how transparent and golden and spirit- 
like it was ; and he shuddered to think how like it Arthur 
looked, and felt a shock as if his blood had all stopped 
short, as he realized how near the other world his friend 
must have been to look like that. Never till that moment 
had he felt how his little chum had twined himself round 



his heart-strings ; and as he stole gently across the room 
and knelt down, and put his arm round Arthur's head on 
the pillow, felt ashamed and half angry at his own red and 
brown face, and the bounding sense of health and power 
which filled every fibre of his body, and made every move- 
ment of mere living a joy to him. He need n't have 
troubled himself ; it was this very strength and power, so 
different from his own, which drew Arthur so to him. 

Arthur laid his thin white hand, on which the blue veins 
stood out so plainly, on Tom's great brown fist, and smiled 
at him ; and then looked out of the window again, as if he 
could n't bear to lose a moment of the sunset, into the 
tops of the great feathery elms, round which the rooks 
were circling and clanging, returning in flocks from their 
evening's foraging parties. The elms rustled, the sparrows 
in the ivy just outside the window chirped and fluttered 
about, quarrelling, and making it up again ; the rooks, 
young and old, talked in chorus, and the merry shouts of 
the boys and the sweet click of the cricket-bats came up 
cheerily from below. 

'Dear George,' said Tom, ' I am so glad to be let up to 
see you at last, I 've tried hard to come so often, but they 
would n't let me before,' 

* Oh, I know, Tom ; Mary has told me every day about 
you, and how she was obliged to make the Doctor speak to 
you to keep you away. I'm very glad you didn't get up, 
for you might have caught it ; and you could n't stand 
being ill, with all the matches going on. And you 're in 
the eleven, too, I hear — I'm so glad.' 

'Yes, ain't it jolly.?' said Tom proudly; 'I'm ninth, 
too. I made forty at the last pie-match, and caught three 



fellows out. So I was put in above Jones and Tucker. 
Tucker 's so savage, for he was head of the twenty-two.' 

'Well, I think you ought to be higher yet,' said Arthur, 
who was as jealous for the renown of Tom in games as 
Tom was for his as a scholar. 

' Never mind, I don't care about cricket or anything now 
you're getting well, Geordie ; and I shouldn't have hurt, I 
know, if they 'd have let me come up — nothing hurts me. 
But you '11 get about now directly, won't you ? You won't 
believe how clean I 've kept the study. All your things are 
just as you left them, and I feed the old magpie just when 
you used, though I have to come in from big-side for him, 
the old rip. He won't look pleased all I can do, and 
sticks his head first on one side and then on the other, 
and blinks at me before he '11 begin to eat, till I'm half 
inclined to box his ears. And whenever East comes in, 
you should see him hop off to the window, dot and go one, 
though Harry would n't touch a feather of him now.' 

Arthur laughed. ' Old Gravey has a good memory ; he 
can't forget the sieges of poor Martin's den in old times,' 
He paused a moment, and then went on. ' You can't think 
how often I 've been thinking of old Martin since I 've been 
ill ; I suppose one's mind gets restless, and likes to wander 
off to strange unknown places. I wonder what queer new 
pets the old boy has got ; how he must be revelling in the 
thousand new birds, beasts, and fishes ! ' 

Tom felt a pang of jealousy, but kicked it out in a 
moment. '' Fancy him on a South Sea Island, with the 
Cherokees or Patagonians, or some such wild niggers 
(Tom's ethnology and geography were faulty, but suffi- 
cient for his needs) ; they '11 make the old Madman cock 



medicine-man and tattoo him all over. Perhaps he 's cutting 
about now all blue, and has a squaw and a wigwam. He '11 
improve their boomerangs, and be able to throw them, too, 
without having old Thomas sent after him by the Doctor 
to take them away.' 

Arthur laughed at the remembrance of the boomerang 
story, but then looked grave again, and said, ' He '11 convert 
all the Island, I know.' 

* Yes, if he don't blow it up first.' 

' Do you remember, Tom, how you and East used to 
laugh at him and chaff him, because he said he was sure 
the rooks all had calling-over, or prayers, or something of 
the sort, when the locking-up bell rang.? Well, I declare,' 
said Arthur, looking up seriously into Tom's laughing eyes, 
' I do think he was right. Since I 've been lying here, I 've 
watched them every night ; and do you know, they really 
do come, and perch all of them just about locking-up 
time ; and then first there 's a regular chorus of caws, 
and then they stop a bit, and one old fellow, or perhaps 
two or three in different trees, caw solos, and then off 
they all go again, fluttering about and cawing anyhow till 
they roost.' 

' I wonder if the old blackies do talk,' said Tom, looking 
up at them. ' How they must abuse me and East, and pray 
for the Doctor for stopping the slinging.' 

' There ! look, look ! ' cried Arthur, ' don't you see the 
old fellow without a tail coming up ? Martin used to call 
him the "clerk." He can't steer himself. You never saw 
such fun as he is in a high wind, when he can't steer him- 
self home, and gets carried right past the trees, and has to 
bear up again and again before he can perch.' 



The locking-up bell began to toll, and the two boys 
were silent, and listened to it. The sound soon carried 
Tom off to the river and the woods, and he began to go 
over in his mind the many occasions on which he had 
heard that toll coming faintly down the breeze, and had to 
pack up his rod in a hurry, and make a run for it, to get 
in before the gates were shut. He was roused with a start 
from his memories by Arthur's voice, gentle and weak from 
his late illness. 

* Tom, will you be angry if I talk to you very seriously ? ' 
'No, dear old boy, not I. But ain't you faint, Arthur, or 

ill .'' What can I get you ? Don't say anything to hurt your- 
self now — you are very weak ; let me come up again.' 

* No, no, I shan't hurt myself : I'd sooner speak to you 
now, if you don't mind. I 've asked Mary to tell the Doctor 
that you are with me, so you need n't go down to calling- 
over ; and I mayn't have another chance, for I shall most 
likely have to go home for change of air to get well, and 
mayn't come back this half.' 

' Oh, do you think you must go away before the end of 
the half.? I'm so sorry. It's more than five weeks yet to 
the holidays, and all the fifth-form examination and half the 
cricket-matches to come yet. And what shall I do all that 
time alone in our study ? Why, Arthur, it will be more 
than twelve weeks before I see you again. Oh, hang it, I 
can't stand that ! Besides, who 's to keep me up to work- 
ing at the examination-books .-' I shall come out bottom of 
the form, as sure as eggs is eggs.' 

Tom was rattling on, half in joke, half in earnest, for he 
wanted to get Arthur out of his serious vein, thinking it 
would do him harm ; but Arthur broke in — 

[ 343 ] 


' Oh, please, Tom, stop, or you '11 drive all I had to say 
out of my head. And I'm already horribly afraid I'm 
going to make you angry.' 

' Don't gammon, young un,' rejoined Tom (the use of the 
old name, dear to him from old recollections, made Arthur 
start and smile, and feel quite happy) ; ' you know you ain't 
afraid, and you 've never made me angry since the first 
month we chummed together. Now I'm going to be quite 
sober for a quarter of an hour, which is more than I am 
once in a year ; so make the most of it ; heave ahead, and 
pitch into me right and left.' 

'Dear Tom, I ain't going to pitch into you,' said Arthur 
piteously ; ' and it seems so cocky in me to be advising you, 
who 've been my backbone ever since I 've been at Rugby, 
and have made the school a paradise to me. Ah ! I see 
I shall never do it, unless I go head-over-heels at once, 
as you said when you taught me to swim. Tom, I want 
you to give up using vulgus-books and cribs.' 

Arthur sank back on to his pillow with a sigh, as if the 
effort had been great ; but the worst was now over, and he 
looked straight at Tom, who was evidently taken aback. 
He leant his elbows on his knees, and stuck his hands into 
his hair, whistled a verse of 'Billy Taylor,' and then was 
quite silent for another minute. Not a shade crossed his 
face, but he was clearly puzzled. At last he looked up, and 
caught Arthur's anxious look, took his hand, and said simply : 

' Why, young un } ' 

* Because you 're the honestest boy in Rugby, and that 
ain't honest.' 

' I don't see that,' 

' What were you sent to Rugby for ? ' 



' Well, I don't know exactly — nobody ever told me. I sup- 
pose because all boys are sent to a public school in England.' 

' But what do you think yourself ? What do you want 
to do here, and to carry away ? ' 

Tom thought a minute. ' I want to be Ai at cricket and 
football and all the other games, and to make my hands 
keep my head against any fellow, lout or gentleman. I want 
to get into the sixth before I leave, and to please the 
Doctor ; and I want to carry away just as much Latin and 
Greek as will take me through Oxford respectably. There, 
now, young un, I never thought of it before, but that 's 
pretty much about my figure. Ain't it all on the square ? 
What have you got to say to that ? ' 

' Why, that you are pretty sure to do all that you want, 

' Well, I hope so. But you 've forgot one thing, what I 
want to leave behind me. I want to leave behind me,' said 
Torn, speaking slow, and looking much moved, 'the name 
of a fellow who never bullied a little boy or turned his back 
on a big one.' 

Arthur pressed his hand, and after a moment's silence 
went on : * You say, Tom, you want to please the Doctor. 
Now, do you want to please him by what he thinks you do, 
or by what you really do ? ' 

' By what I really do, of course.' 

' Does he think you use cribs and vulgus-books ? ' 

Tom felt at once that his flank was turned, but he 
couldn't give in. 'He was at Winchester himself,' said 
he ; 'he knows all about it.' 

' Yes, but does he think ^'ou use them ? Do you think 
he approves of it ^ ' 



* You young villain ! ' said Tom, shaking his fist at Arthur, 
half vexed and half pleased, ' I never think about it. Hang 
it — there, perhaps he don't. Well, I suppose he don't.' 

Arthur saw that he had got his point ; he knew his 
friend well, and was wise in silence as in speech. He only 
said, ' I would sooner have the Doctor's good opinion of 
me as I really am than any man's in the world.' 

After another minute Tom began again : * Look here, 
young un, how on earth am I to get time to play the matches 
this half, if I give up cribs ? We 're in the middle of that 
long crabbed chorus in the Agamemnon ; I can only just 
make head or tail of it with the crib. Then there 's Pericles's 
speech coming on in Thucydides, and "The Birds" to get 
up for the examination, besides the Tacitus.' Tom groaned 
at the thought of his accumulated labours. ' I say, young 
un, there's only five weeks or so left to holidays; mayn't 
I go on as usual for this half ? I '11 tell the Doctor about 
it some day, or you may.' 

Arthur looked out of window ; the twilight had come on, 
and all was silent. He repeated in a low voice, ' " In this 
thing the Lord pardon thy servant, that when my master 
goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he 
leaneth on my hand, and I bow down myself in the house 
of Rimmon, when I bow down myself in the house of Rim- 
mon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing." ' 

Not a word more was said on the subject, and the boys 
were again silent — one of those blessed, short silences in 
which the resolves which colour a life are so often taken, 

Tom was the first to break it. ' You 've been very ill 
indeed, haven't you, Geordie ? ' said he, with a mixture of 
awe and curiosity, feeling as if his friend had been in some 



strange place or scene, of which he could form no idea, and 
full of the memory of his own thoughts during the last week. 

'Yes, very. I'm sure the Doctor thought I was going to 
die. He gave me the Sacrament last Sunday, and you can't 
think what he is when one is ill. He said such brave, 
and tender, and gentle things to me. I felt quite light and 
strong after it, and never had any more fear. My mother 
brought our old medical man, who attended me when I 
was a poor sickly child ; he said my constitution was quite 
changed, and that I'm fit for anything now. If it hadn't, 
I could n't have stood three days of this illness. That 's all 
thanks to you, and the games you 've made me fond of.' 

' More thanks to old Martin,' said Tom ; ' he 's been your 
real friend.' 

' Nonsense, Tom ; he never could have done for me what 
you have.' 

' Well, I don't know ; I did litde enough. Did they tell 
you — you won't mind hearing it now, I know — that poor 
Thompson died last week .? The other three boys are getting 
quite round, like you.* 

' Oh, yes, I heard of it.' 

Then Tom, who was quite full of it, told Arthur of the 
burial service in the chapel, and how it had impressed him, 
and, he believed, all the other boys. ' And though the 
Doctor never said a word about it,' said he, 'and it was a 
half-holiday and match day, there wasn't a game played 
in the close all the afternoon, and the boys all went about 
as if it were Sunday.' 

' I'm very glad of it,' said Arthur. ' But, Tom, I 've had 
such strange thoughts about death lately. I 've never told 
a soul of them, not even my mother. Sometimes I think 

I [347] 


they 're wrong, but, do you know, I don't think in my heart 
I could be sorry at the death of any of my friends.' 

Tom was taken quite aback. ' What in the world is the 
young un after now ? ' thought he ; 'I 've swallowed a good 
many of his crotchets, but this altogether beats me. He 
can't be quite right in his head.' He didn't want to say 
a word, and shifted about uneasily in the dark ; however, 
Arthur seemed to be waiting for an answer, so at last he 
said, ' I don't think I quite see what you mean, Geordie. 
One 's told so often to think about death that I 've tried it 
on sometimes, especially this last week. But we won't talk 
of it now. I'd better go — you 're getting tired, and I shall 
do you harm.' 

' No, no, indeed I ain't, Tom ; you must stop till nine, 
there 's only twenty minutes. I 've settled you shall stop till 
nine. And, oh ! do let me talk to you — I must talk to you. 
I see it 's just as I feared. You think I'm half mad — don't 
you, now .'' ' 

' Well, I did think it odd what you said, Geordie, as you 
ask me.' 

Arthur paused a moment, and then said quickly : ' I '11 
tell you how it all happened. At first, when I was sent to 
the sick-room, and found I had really got the fever, I was 
terribly frightened. I thought I should die, and I could 
not face it for a moment. I don't think it was sheer cow- 
ardice at first, but I thought how hard it was to be taken 
away from my mother and sisters, and you all, just as I 
was beginning to see my way to many things, and to feel that 
I might be a man and do a man's work. To die without 
having fought, and worked, and given one's life away, was 
too hard to bear. I got terribly impatient, and accused God 

[ 348 1 


of injustice, and strove to justify myself ; and the harder I 
strove the deeper I sank. Then the image of my dear 
father often came across me, but I turned from it. When- 
ever it came, a heavy, numbing throb seemed to take hold 
of my heart and say, " Dead — dead — dead." And I cried 
out, " The living, the living shall praise Thee, O God ; the 
dead cannot praise Thee. There is no work in the grave ; 
in the night no man can work. But I can work. I can do 
great things. I will do great things. Why wilt Thou slay 
me .'' " And so I struggled and plunged, deeper and deeper, 
and went down into a living black tomb. I was alone there, 
with no power to stir or think ; alone with myself ; beyond 
the reach of all human fellowship ; beyond Christ's reach, 
I thought, in my nightmare. You, who are brave and bright 
and strong, can have no idea of that agony. Pray to God 
you never may. Pray as for your life.' 

Arthur stopped — from exhaustion, Tom thought ; but 
what between his fear lest Arthur should hurt himself, 
his awe, and longing for him to go on, he could n't ask, 
or stir to help him.. 

Presently he went on, but quite calm and slow. ' I don't 
know how long I was in that state. For more than a day, I 
know ; for I was quite conscious, and lived my outer life all 
the time, and took my medicines, and spoke to my mother, 
and heard what they said. But I did n't take much note of 
time ; I thought time was over for me, and that the tomb 
was what was beyond. Well, on last Sunday morning, as I 
seemed to lie in that tomb, alone, as I thought, for ever 
and ever, the black, dead wall was cleft in two, and I was 
caught up and borne through into the light by some great 
power, some living, mighty spirit. Tom, do )ou remember 

[ 349 ] 


the living creatures and the wheels in Ezekiel ? It was just 
like that : " When they went I heard the noise of their 
wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the 
Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host ; 
when they stood they let down their wings . . . and they 
went every one straight forward ; whither the spirit was to 
go they went, and they turned not when they went." And 
we rushed through the bright air, which was full of myriads 
of living creatures, and paused on the brink of a great river. 
And the power held me up, and I knew that that great 
river was the grave, and death dwelt there ; but not the 
death I had met in the black tomb — that I felt was gone 
for ever. For on the other bank of the great river I saw 
men and women and children rising up pure and bright, 
and the tears were wiped from their eyes, and they put on 
glory and strength, and all weariness and pain fell away. 
And beyond were a multitude which no man could number, 
and they worked at some great work ; and they who rose 
from the river went on and joined in the work. They all 
worked, and each worked in a different way, but all at the 
same work. And I saw there my father, and the men in 
the old town whom I knew when I was a child ; many a 
hard, stern man, who never came to church, and whom they 
called atheist and infidel. There they were, side by side 
with my father, whom I had seen toil and die for them, 
and women and little children, and the seal was on the fore- 
heads of all. And I longed to see what the work was, and 
could not ; so I tried to plunge in the river, for I thought 
I would join them, but I could not. Then I looked about 
to see how they got into the river. And this I could not 
see, but I saw myriads on this side, and they too worked, 



and I knew that it was the same work ; and the same seal 
was on their foreheads. And though I saw that there was 
toil and anguish in the work of these, and that most that 
were working were blind and feeble, yet I longed no more 
to plunge into the river, but more and more to know what 
the work was. And as I looked I saw my mother and my 
sisters, and I saw the Doctor, and you, Tom, and hundreds 
more whom I knew ; and at last I saw myself too, and I 
was toiling and doing ever so little a piece of the great 
work. Then it all melted away, and the power left me, and 
as it left me I thought I heard a voice say, " The vision is 
for an appointed time ; though it tarry, wait for it, for in 
the end it shall speak and not lie, it shall surely come, it 
shall not tarry," It was early morning, I know, then, it 
was so quiet and cool, and my mother was fast asleep in the 
chair by my bedside ; but it was n't only a dream of mine. 
I know it wasn't a dream. Then I fell into a deep sleep, 
and only woke after afternoon chapel ; and the Doctor came 
and gave me the Sacrament, as I told you. I told him and 
my mother I should get well — I knew I should ; but I 
couldn't tell them why. Tom,' said Arthur, gently, after 
another minute, ' do you see why I could not grieve now 
to see my dearest friend die .-' It can't be — it isn't, all 
fever or illness. God would never have let me see it so 
clear if it wasn't true. I don't understand it all yet — it 
will take me my life and longer to do that — to find out 
what the work is.' 

When Arthur stopped there was a long pause. Tom 
could not speak, he was almost afraid to breathe, lest he 
should break the train of Arthur's thoughts. He longed to 
hear more, and to ask questions. In another minute nine 



o'clock struck, and a gentle tap at the door called them 
both back into the world again. They did not answer, 
however, for a moment, and so the door opened, and a 
lady came in carrying a candle. 

She went straight to the sofa, and took hold of Arthur's 
hand, and then stooped down and kissed him. 

' My dearest boy, you feel a little feverish again. Why 
did n't you have lights .-' You 've talked too much, and 
excited yourself in the dark.' 

' Oh, no, mother, you can't think how well I feel. I 
shall start with you to-morrow for Devonshire. But, mother, 
here 's my friend, here 's Tom Brown — you know him ? ' 

'Yes, indeed, I've known him for years,' she said, and 
held out her hand to Tom, who was now standing up be- 
hind the sofa. This was Arthur's mother. Tall and slight 
and fair, with masses of golden hair drawn back from the 
broad white forehead, and the calm blue eye meeting his 
so deep and open — the eye that he knew so well, for it 
was his friend's over again, and the lovely tender mouth 
that trembled while he looked. She stood there, a woman 
of thirty-eight, old enough to be his mother, and one whose 
face showed the lines which must be written on the faces of 
good men's wives and widows — but he thought he had never 
seen anything so beautiful. He couldn't help wondering if 
Arthur's sisters were like her. 

Tom held her hand, and looked on straight in her face ; 
he could neither let it go nor speak. 

' Now, Tom, ' said Arthur, laughing, ' where are your 
manners ? — you '11 stare my mother out of countenance.' 
Tom dropped the little hand with a sigh. ' There, sit down, 
both of you. Here, dearest mother, there 's room here ' ; and 


••^'///f/.7 ^1 




he made a place on the sofa for her. ' Tom, you need n't 
go; I'm sure you won't be called up at first lesson.' Tom 
felt that he would risk being floored at every lesson for the 
rest of his natural school-life sooner than go ; so sat down. 
'And now,' said Arthur, ' I have realized one of the dearest 
wishes of my life — to see you two together.' 

And then he led away the talk to their home in Devon- 
shire, and the red bright earth, and the deep green combes, 
and the peat streams like cairngorm pebbles, and the wild 
moor with its high cloudy Tors for a giant background to 
the picture — till Tom got jealous and stood up for the 
clear chalk streams, and the emerald water-meadows and 
great elms and willows of the dear old Royal county, as he 
gloried to call it. And the mother sat on quiet and loving, 
rejoicing in their life. The quarter-to-ten struck, and the 
bell rang for bed, before they had well begun their talk, 
as it seemed. 

Then Tom rose with a sigh to go. 

' Shall I see you in the morning, Geordie ? ' said he, as 
he shook his friend's hand. ' Never mind, though ; you '11 
be back next half, and I shan't forget the house of Rimmon.' 

Arthur's mother got up and walked with him to the 
door, and there gave him her hand again, and again his 
eyes met that deep, loving look, which was like a spell 
upon him. Her voice trembled slightly as she said, ' Good 
night. — You are one who knows what our Father has 
promised to the friend of the widow and the fatherless. 
May He deal with you as you have dealt with me and mine ! ' 

Tom was quite upset ; he mumbled something about 
owing ever)thing good in him to Geordie — looked in 
her face again, pressed her hand to his lips, and rushed 



downstairs to his study, where he sat till old Thomas came 
kicking at the door, to tell him his allowance would be 
stopped if he didn't go off to bed. (It would have been 
stopped anyhow, but that he was a great favourite with the 
old gentleman, who loved to come out in the afternoons 
into the close to Tom's wicket, and bowl slow twisters 
to him, and talk of the glories of bygone Surrey heroes, 
with whom he had played former generations.) So Tom 
roused himself, and took up his candle to go to bed ; and 
then for the first time was aware of a beautiful new fishing- 
rod, with old Eton's mark on it, and a splendidly bound 
Bible, which lay on his table, on the title-page of which 
was written : ' Tom Brown, from his affectionate and grate- 
ful friends, Frances Jane Arthur, George Arthur.' 

I leave you all to guess how he slept, and what he 
dreamt of. 


O0' ^ 

Chapter vn 
Harry East ^s-Dilejpfiimy an^d Bdw^rame^^ 

* The Holy Supper is kept, indeed. 
In zuhatso we share with another'' s need : 
Not what we give, but what we share, — 
For the gift without the giver is bare ; 
Who gives himself with his alms feeds three. 
Himself, his hungering neighbour, and Me/ 

Lowell, 'The Fision of Sir LaunfaT 

HE next morning, after breakfast, Tom, 
I East, and Gower met as usual to learn 
their second lesson together. Tom had 
been considering how to break his pro- 
posal of giving up the crib to the others, 
and having found no better way (as in- 

deed none better can ever be found by man or boy), told 
them simply what had happened ; how he had been to see 
Arthur, who had talked to him upon the subject, and what 



he had said, and for his part he had made up his mind, and 
was n't going to use cribs any more : and not being quite 
sure of his ground, took the high and pathetic tone, and 
was proceeding to say, ' how that having learnt his lessons 
with them for so many years, it would grieve him much to 
put an end to the arrangement, and he hoped at any rate 
that if they would n't go on with him, they should still be 
just as good friends, and respect one another's motives — 

Here the other boys, who had been listening with open 
eyes and ears, burst in — 

' Stuff and nonsense ! ' cried Gower, ' Here, East, get 
down the crib and find the place.' 

' Oh, Tommy, Tommy ! ' said East, proceeding to do as 
he was bidden, * that it should ever have come to this ! 
I knew Arthur 'd be the ruin of you some day, and you 
of me. And now the time 's come ' — and he made a 
doleful face. 

' I don't know about ruin,' answered Tom ; ' I know that 
you and I would ha-ve had the sack long ago, if it had n't 
been for him. And you know it as well as I.' 

* Well, we were in a baddish way before he came, I own ; 
but this new crotchet of his is past a joke.' 

' Let 's give it a trial, Harry ; come — you know how 
often he has been right and we wrong.' 

* Now, don't you two be jawing away about young 
Square-toes,' struck in Gower. * He 's no end of a sucking 
wiseacre, I dare say ; but we 've no time to lose and I 've 
got the fives-court at half-past nine.' 

'I say, Gower,' said Tom appealingly, 'be a good fellow, 
and let 's try if we can't get on without the crib.' 



'What! in this chorus? Why, we shan't get through 
ten Hnes.' 

' I say, Tom,' cried East, having hit on a new idea, 
'don't you remember, when we were in the upper fourth 
and old Momus caught me construing off the leaf of a 
crib which I'd torn out and put in my book, and which 
would float out on to the floor ; he sent me up to be 
flogged for it ? ' 

'Yes, I remember it very well.' 

' Well, the Doctor, after he 'd flogged me, told me himself 
that he did n't flog me for using a translation, but for tak- 
ing it into lesson, and using it there when I hadn't learnt 
a word before I came in. He said there was no harm in 
using a translation to get a clue to hard passages, if you 
tried all you could first to make them out without.' 

* Did he, though ? ' said Tom ; ' then Arthur must 
be wrong.' 

'Of course he is,' said Gower, 'the little prig. We'll 
only use the crib when we can't construe without it. Go 
ahead. East.' 

And on this agreement they started : Tom, satisfied 
with having made his confession, and not sorry to have 
a /ocus poc7iitentiae, and not to be deprived altogether 
of the use of his old and faithful friend. 

The boys went on as usual, each taking a sentence in 
turn, and the crib being handed to the one whose turn it 
was to construe. Of course Tom couldn't object to this, 
as was it not simply lying there to be appealed to in case 
the sentence should prove too hard altogether for the 
construer } But it must be owned that Gower and East 
did not make very tremendous exertions to conquer their 



sentences before having recourse to its help. Tom, however, 
with the most heroic virtue and gallantry, rushed into his 
sentence, searching in a high-minded manner for nomina- 
tive and verb, and turning over his dictionary frantically 
for the first hard word that stopped him. But in the mean- 
time Gower, who was bent on getting to fives, would peep 
quietly into the crib, and then suggest, * Don't you think 
this is the meaning .? ' 'I think you must take it this way, 
Brown'; and as Tom didn't see his way to not profiting 
by these suggestions, the lesson went on about as quickly 
as usual, and Gower was able to start for the fives-court 
within five minutes of the half-hour. 

When Tom and East were left face to face, they looked 
at one another for a minute, Tom puzzled and East chock- 
full of fun, and then burst into a roar of laughter. 

'Well, Tom,' said East, recovering himself, 'I don't 
see any objection to the new way. It 's about as good as 
the old one, I think ; besides the advantage it gives one of 
feeling virtuous, and looking down on one's neighbours.' 

Tom shoved his. hand into his back hair. 'I ain't so 
sure, ' said he ; ' you two fellows carried me off my legs ; 
I don't think we really tried one sentence fairly. Are you 
sure you remember what the Doctor said to you ? ' 

' Yes. And I '11 swear I could n't make out one of my 
sentences to-day. No, nor ever could. I really don't 
remember,' said East, speaking slowly and impressively, 
'to have come across one Latin or Greek sentence this 
half, that I could go and construe by the light of nature. 
Whereby I am sure Providence intended cribs to be used.' 

'The thing to find out,' said Tom meditatively, 'is how 
long one ought to grind at a sentence without looking at 



the crib. Now I think if one fairly looks out all the words 
one don't know, and then can't hit it, that's enough,' 

'To be sure. Tommy,' said East demurely, but with 
a merry twinkle in his eye. ' Your new doctrine, too, old 
fellow,' added he, 'when one comes to think of it, is a 
cutting at the root of all school morality. You '11 take away 
mutual help, brotherly love, or, in the vulgar tongue, giving 
construes, which I hold to be one of our highest virtues. 
For how can you distinguish between getting a construe from 
another boy and using a crib .? Hang it, Tom, if you 're 
going to deprive all our school-fellows of the chance of exer- 
cising Christian benevolence and being good Samaritans, I 
shall cut the concern.' 

' I wish you would n't joke about it, Harry ; it 's hard 
enough to see one's way, a precious sight harder than 
I thought last night. But I suppose there 's a use and 
an abuse of both, and one '11 get straight enough somehow. 
But you can't make out anyhow that one has a right to use 
old vulgus-books and copy-books.' 

'Hullo, more heresy! How fast a fellow goes down- 
hill when he once gets his head before his legs ! Listen 
to me, Tom. Not use old vulgus-books.? — why, you Goth! 
ain't we to take the benefit of the wisdom, and admire and 
use the work of past generations ? Not use old copy-books ! 
Why, you might as well say we ought to pull down West- 
minster Abbey, and put up a go-to-meeting shop with 
churchwarden windows ; or never read Shakespeare, but 
only Sheridan Knowles. Think of all the work and labour 
that our predecessors have bestowed on these very books ; 
and are we to make their work of no value ? ' 

'I say, Harry, please don't chaff; I'm really serious.' 



'And then, is it not our duty to consult the pleasure of 
others rather than our own, and, above all, that of our 
masters ? Fancy then the difference to them in looking 
over a vulgus which has been carefully touched and 
retouched by themselves and others, and which must bring 
them a sort of dreamy pleasure, as if they 'd met the 
thought or expression of it somewhere or another — before 
they were born, perhaps ; and that of cutting up and mak- 
ing picture-frames round all your and my false quantities, 
and other monstrosities. Why, Tom, you would n't be so 
cruel as never to let old Momus hum over the " O genus 
humanum," again, and then look up doubtingly through his 
spectacles, and end by smiling and giving three extra 
marks for it : just for old sake's sake, I suppose.' 

'Well,' said Tom, getting up in something as like a huff 
as he was capable of, ' it 's deuced hard that when a fellow 's 
really trying to do what he ought, his best friends '11 do 
nothing but chaff him and try to put him down.' And he 
stuck his books under his arm and his hat on his head, 
preparatory to rushing out into the quadrangle, to testify 
with his own soul of the faithlessness of friendships. 

'Now don't be an ass, Tom,' said East, catching hold of 
him, ' you know me well enough by this time ; my bark 's 
worse than my bite. You can't expect to ride your new 
crotchet without anybody's trying to stick a nettle under his 
tail and make him kick you off : especially as we shall all 
have to go on foot still. But now sit down and let 's go 
over it again, I '11 be as serious as a judge.' 

Then Tom sat himself down on the table, and waxed 
eloquent about all the righteousnesses and advantages of the 
new plan, as was his wont whenever he took up anything ; 



going into it as if his life depended upon it, and sparing 
no abuse which he could think of, of the opposite method, 
which he denounced as ungentlemanly, cowardly, mean, ly- 
ing, and no one knows what besides. 'Very cool of Tom,' 
as East thought, but did n't say, * seeing as how he only 
came out of Egypt himself last night at bedtime.' 

'Well, Tom,' said he at last, 'you see, when you and I 
came to school there were none of these sort of notions. 
You may be right — I dare say you are. Only what one 
has always felt about the masters is, that it 's a fair trial of 
skill and last between us and them — like a match at foot- 
ball, or a battle. We 're natural enemies in school, that 's the 
fact. We 've got to learn so much Latin and Greek and do 
so many verses, and they 've got to see that we do it. If 
we can slip the collar and do so much less without getting 
caught, that 's one to us. If they can get more out of us, or 
catch us shirking, that 's one to them. All 's fair in war but 
lying. If I run my luck against theirs, and go into school 
without looking at my lessons, and don't get called up, why 
am I a snob or a sneak .? I don't tell the master I 've learnt 
it. He 's got to find out whether I have or not ; what 's he 
paid for ? If he calls me up and I get floored, he makes me 
write it out in Greek and English. Very good ; he 's caught 
me, and I don't grumble. I grant you, if I go and snivel 
to him, and tell him I 've really tried to learn it, but found 
it so hard without a translation, or say I 've had a toothache 
or any humbug of that kind, I'm a snob. That 's my school 
morality ; it 's served me, and you too, Tom, for the matter 
of that, these five years. And it 's all clear and fair, no mis- 
take about it, Wq understand it, and they understand it, and 
I don't know what we 're to come to with any other.' 



Tom looked at him pleased, and a little puzzled. He 
had never heard East speak his mind seriously before, and 
could n't help feeling how completely he had hit his own 
theory and practice up to that time. 

'Thank you, old fellow,' said he. 'You're a good old 
brick to be serious, and not put out with me. I said more 
than I meant, I dare say, only, you see, I know I'm right : 
whatever you and Gower and the rest do, I shall hold on — 
I must. And as it 's all new and an uphill game, you see, 
one must hit hard and hold on tight at first.' 

'Very good,' said East ; 'hold on and hit away, only don't 
hit under the line.' 

' But I must bring you over, Harry, or I shan't be com- 
fortable. Now, I '11 allow all you 've said. We 've always 
been honourable enemies with the masters. We found a 
state of war when we came, and went into it of course. 
Only don't you think things are altered a good deal .-' I 
don't feel as I used to the masters. They seem to me to 
treat one quite differently.' 

'Yes, perhaps they do,' said East; 'there's a new set, 
you see, mostly, who don't feel sure of themselves yet. 
They don't want to fight till they know the ground.' 

' I don't think it's only that,' said Tom. 'And then the 
Doctor, he does treat one so openly, and like a gentleman, 
and as if one was working with him.' 

'Well, so he does,' said East; 'he's a splendid fellow, 
and when I get into the sixth I shall act accordingly. Only 
you know he has nothing to do with our lessons now, 
except examining us. I say, though,' looking at his watch, 
' it 's just the quarter. Come along.' 

As they walked out they got a message to say, 'that 



Arthur was just starting and would like to say good-bye ' 
so they went down to the private entrance of the School- 
house, and found an open carriage, with Arthur propped up 
with pillows in it, looking already better, Tom thought. 

They jumped up on to the steps to shake hands with 
him, and Tom mumbled thanks for the presents he had 
found in his study, and looked round anxiously for Arthur's 

East, who had fallen back into his usual humour, looked 
quaintly at Arthur, and said — 

' So you 've been at it again, through that hot-headed con- 
vert of yours there. He 's been making our lives a burthen 
to us all the morning about using cribs. I shall get floored 
to a certainty at second lesson, if I'm called up.' 

Arthur blushed and looked down. Tom struck in — 

' Oh, it 's all right. He 's converted already ; he always 
comes through the mud after us, grumbling and sputtering,' 

The clock struck, and they had to go off to school, wish- 
ing Arthur a pleasant holiday ; Tom lingering behind a 
moment to send his thianks and love to Arthur's mother. 

Tom renewed the discussion after second lesson, and 
succeeded so far as to get East to promise to give the new 
plan a fair trial. 

Encouraged by his success, in the evening, when they 
were sitting alone in the large study, where East lived now 
almost, 'vice Arthur on leave,' after examining the new 
fishing-rod, which both pronounced to be the genuine article 
(* play enough to throw a midge tied on a single hair against 
the wind, and strength enough to hold a grampus '), they 
naturally began talking about Arthur. Tom, who was still 
bubbling over with last night's scene and all the thoughts 



of the last week, and wanting to clinch and fix the whole 
in his own mind, which he could never do without first 
going through the process of belabouring somebody else 
with it all, suddenly rushed into the subject of Arthur's 
illness, and what he had said about death. 
. East had given him the desired opening : after a serio- 
comic grumble, ' that life was n't worth having now they 
were tied to a young beggar who was always " raising his 
standard " ; and that he, East, was like a prophet's donkey, 
who was obliged to struggle on after the donkey-man who 
went after the prophet ; that he had none of the pleasure 
of starting the new crotchets, and did n't half understand 
them, but had to take the kicks and carry the luggage as if 
he had all the fun ' — he threw his legs up on to the sofa, 
and put his hands behind his head, and said — 

' Well, after all, he 's the most wonderful little fellow I 
ever came across. There ain't such a meek, humble boy in 
the School. Hanged if I don't think now really, Tom, that 
he believes himself a much worse fellow than you or I, and 
that he don't think he has more influence in the house than 
Dot Bowles, who came last quarter, and ain't ten yet. But 
he turns you and me round his little finger, old boy — 
there 's no mistake about that.' And East nodded at Tom 

' Now or never ! ' thought Tom ; so shutting his eyes and 
hardening his heart, he went straight at it, repeating all 
that Arthur had said, as near as he could remember it, in 
the very words, and all he had himself thought. The life 
seemed to ooze out of it as he went on, and several times 
he felt inclined to stop, give it all up, and change the sub- 
ject. But somehow he was borne on, he had a necessity 



upon him to speak it all out, and did so. At the end he 
looked at East with some anxiety, and was delighted to 
see that that young gentleman was thoughtful and attentive. 
The fact is, that in the stage of his inner life at which Tom 
had lately arrived, his intimacy with and friendship for East 
could not have lasted if he had not made him aware of, and 
a sharer in, the thoughts that were beginning to exercise 
him. Nor indeed could the friendship have lasted if East 
had shown no sympathy with these thoughts ; so that it was 
a great relief to have unbosomed himself, and to have found 
that his friend could listen. 

Tom had always had a sort of instinct that East's levity 
was only skin-deep ; and this instinct was a true one. East 
had no want of reverence for anything he felt to be real : 
but his was one of those natures that burst into what is 
generally called recklessness and impiety the moment they 
feel that anything is being poured upon them for their 
good, which does not come home to their inborn sense of 
right, or which appeals to anything like self-interest in them. 
Daring and honest by nature, and outspoken to an extent 
which alarmed all respectabilities, w^ith a constant fund of 
animal health and spirits which he did not feel bound to 
curb in any way, he had gained for himself with the steady 
part of the School (including as well those who wished to 
appear steady as those who really were so) the character of 
a boy whom it would be dangerous to be intimate with ; 
while his own hatred of everything cruel, or underhand, or 
false, and his hearty respect for what he could see to be 
good and true, kept off the rest. 

Tom, besides being very like East in many points of 
character, had largely developed in his composition the 



capacity for taking the weakest side. This is not putting it 
strongly enough ; it was a necessity with him, he could n't 
help it any more than he could eating or drinking. He 
could never play on the strongest side with any heart at 
football or cricket, and was sure to make friends with any 
boy who was unpopular, or down on his luck. 

Now, though East was not what is generally called un- 
popular, Tom felt more and more every day, as their char- 
acters developed, that he stood alone, and did not make 
friends among their contemporaries ; and therefore sought 
him out. Tom was himself much more popular, for his 
power of detecting humbug was much less acute, and his 
instincts were much more sociable. He was at this period 
of his life, too, largely given to taking people for what they 
gave themselves out to be ; but his singleness of heart, fear- 
lessness, and honesty were just what East appreciated, and 
thus the two had been drawn into great intimacy. 

This intimacy had not been interrupted by Tom's 
guardianship of Arthur. 

East had often, as- has been said, joined them in reading 
the Bible ; but their discussions had almost always turned 
upon the characters of the men and women of whom they 
read, and not become personal to themselves. In fact, the 
two had shrunk from personal religious discussion, not 
knowing how it might end ; and fearful of risking a friend- 
ship very dear to both, and which they felt somehow, with- 
out quite knowing why, would never be the same, but either 
tenfold stronger or sapped at its foundation, after such a 
communing together. 
' What a bother all this explaining is ! I wish we could 
get on without it. But we can't. However, you '11 all find, 

[ 367 ] 


if you haven't found it out already, that a time comes in 
every human friendship, when you must go down into the 
depths of yourself, and lay bare what is there to your friend, 
and wait in fear for his answer. A few moments may do it ; 
and it may be (most likely will be, as you are English boys) 
that you never do it but once. But done it must be, if the 
friendship is to be worth the name. You must find what is 
there, at the very root and bottom of one another's hearts ; 
and if you are at one there, nothing on earth can, or at least 
ought to, sunder you. 

East had remained lying down until Tom finished speak- 
ing, as if fearing to interrupt him ; he now sat up at the 
table, and leant his head on one hand, taking up a pencil 
with the other, and working little holes with it in the table- 
cover. After a bit he looked up, stopped the pencil, and 
said, ' Thank you ver)' much, old fellow ; there 's no other 
boy in the house would have done it for me but you or 
Arthur. I can see well enough,' he went on after a pause, 
' all the best big fellows look on me with suspicion ; they 
think I'm a devil-may-care, reckless young scamp. So I 
am — eleven hours out of twelve, but not the twelfth. Then 
all of our contemporaries worth knowing follow suit, of 
course ; we 're very good friends at games and all that, but 
not a soul of them but you and Arthur ever tried to break 
through the crust, and see whether there was anything at 
the bottom of me ; and then the bad ones I won't stand, 
and they know that.' 

' Don't you think that 's half fancy, Harry ? ' 
'Not a bit of it,' said East bitterly, pegging away with 
his pencil. ' I see it all plain enough. Bless you, you think 
everybody 's as straightforward and kindhearted as you are.' 



* Well, but what 's the reason of it ? There must be a 
reason. You can play all the games as well as any one, and 
sing the best song, and are the best company in the house. 
You fancy you 're not liked, Harry, It 's all fancy.' 

' I only wish it was, Tom. I know I could be popular 
enough with all the bad ones, but that I won't have, and 
the good ones won't have me.' 

'Why not.'' ' persisted Tom ; 'you don't drink or swear, 
or get out at night ; you never bully, or cheat at lessons. 
If you only showed you liked it, you 'd have all the best 
fellows in the house running after you.' 

'Not I,' said East. Then with an effort he went on: 
' I'll tell you what it is. I never stop the Sacrament. I can 
see, from the Doctor downwards, how that tells against me.' 

'Yes, I've seen that,' said Tom, 'and I've been very 
sorry for it, and Arthur and I have talked about it. I 've 
often thought of speaking to you, but it 's so hard to begin 
on such subjects. I'm very glad you 've opened it. Now, 
why don't you .? ' 

' I 've never been confirmed,' said East. 

' Not been confirmed ! ' said Tom in astonishment. ' I 
never thought of that. Why weren't you confirmed with 
the rest of us nearly three years ago .-* I always thought 
you 'd been confirmed at home.' 

'No,' answered East sorrowfully; 'you see, this was how 
it happened. Last Confirmation was soon after Arthur 
came, and you were so taken up with him, I hardly saw 
either of you. Well, when the Doctor sent round for us 
about it, I was living mostly with Green's set — you know 
the sort. They all went in — I dare say it was all right, and 
they got good by it ; I don't want to judge them. Only all 



I could see of their reasons drove me just the other way. 
'T was " because the Doctor Hked it" ; "no boy got on who 
didn't stay the Sacrament"; it was "the correct thing," — 
in fact, hke having a good hat to wear on Sundays. I 
couldn't stand it. I didn't feel that I wanted to lead a 
different life, I was very well content as I was, and I was n't 
going to sham religious to curry favour with the Doctor, or 
any one else.' 

East stopped speaking, and pegged away more diligently 
than ever with his pencil. Tom was ready to cry. He felt 
half sorry at first that he had been confirmed himself. He 
seemed to have deserted his earliest friend, to have left 
him by himself at his worst need for those long years. 
He got up and went and sat by East and put his arm over 
his shoulder. 

' Dear old boy,' he said, ' how careless and selfish I 've 
been. But why didn't you come and talk to Arthur 
and me .-* ' 

'I wish to Heaven I had,' said East, 'but I was a fool. 
It 's too late talking of it now.' 

' Why too late .-' You want to be confirmed now, don't 
you ? ' 

'I think so,' said East. 'I've thought about it a good 
deal : only often I fancy I must be changing because I see 
it 's to do me good here, just what stopped me last time. 
And then I go back again.' 

' I '11 tell you now how 'twas with me,' said Tom warmly. 
* If it had n't been for Arthur, I should have done just as 
you did. I hope I should. I honour you for it. But then 
he made it out just as if it was taking the weak side before 
all the world — going in once for all against everything 



that 's strong and rich and proud and respectable, a Httle 
band of brothers against the whole world. And the Doctor 
seemed to say so too, only he said a great deal more.' 

'Ah ! ' groaned East, ' but there again, that 's just another 
of my difficulties whenever I think about the matter. I don't 
want to be one of your saints, one of your elect, whatever 
the right phrase is. My sympathies are all the other way ; 
with the many, the poor devils who run about the streets 
and don't go to church. Don't stare, Tom ; mind, I'm 
telling you all that 's in my heart — as far as I know it — 
but it 's all a muddle. You must be gentle with me if you 
want to land me. Now I 've seen a deal of this sort of re- 
ligion, I was bred up in it, and I can't stand it. If nineteen- 
twentieths of the world are to be left to uncovenanted 
mercies, and that sort of thing, which means in plain Eng- 
lish to go to hell, and the other twentieth are to rejoice at 
it all, why — ' 

' Oh ! but, Harry, they ain't, they don't,' broke in Tom, 
really shocked. 'Oh, how I wish Arthur hadn't gone! I'm 
such a fool about these things. But it 's all you want too. 
East ; it is indeed. It cuts both ways somehow, being con- 
firmed and taking the Sacrament. It makes you feel on the 
side of all the good and all the bad too, of everybody in the 
world. Only there 's some great dark strong power, which 
is crushing you and everybody else. That 's what Christ 
conquered, and we 've got to fight. What a fool I am ! I 
can't explain. If Arthur were only here ! ' 

' I begin to get a glimmering of what you mean,' said 

'I say now,' said Tom eagerly, 'do you remember how 
we both hated Flashman ? ' 



* Of course I do,' said East ; ' I hate him still. What then ? ' 

* Well, when I came to take the Sacrament, I had a great 
struggle about that. I tried to put him out of my head ; 
and when I could n't do that, I tried to think of him as 
evil, as something that the Lord who was loving me hated, 
and which I might hate too. But it wouldn't do. I broke 
down : I believe Christ Himself broke me down ; and when 
the Doctor gave me the bread and wine, and leant over me 
praying, I prayed for poor Flashman, as if it had been you 
or Arthur.' 

East buried his face in his hands on the table. Tom 
could feel the table tremble. At last he looked up. ' Thank 
you again, Tom,' said he; 'you don't know what you may 
have done for me to-night. I think I see now how the 
right sort of sympathy with poor devils is got at.' 

' And you '11 stop the Sacrament next time, won't you .-* ' 
said Tom. 

'Can I, before I'm confirmed.?' 

' Go and ask the Doctor.' 

' I will.' 

That very night, after prayers. East followed the Doctor 
and the old Verger bearing the candle, upstairs. Tom 
watched, and saw the Doctor turn round when he heard 
footsteps following him closer than usual, and say, ' Hah, 
East ! Do you want to speak to me, my man ? ' 

' If you please, sir ' ; and the private door closed, and Tom 
went to his study in a state of great trouble of mind. 

It was almost an hour before East came back : then he 
rushed in breathless. 

'Well, it's all right,' he shouted, seizing Tom by the 
hand. ' I feel as if a ton weight were off my mind.' 



' Hurra,' said Tom. ' I knew it would be, but tell us all 
about it.' 

' Well, I just told him all about it. You can't think how 
kind and gentle he was, the great grim man, whom I 've 
feared more than anybody on earth. When I stuck, he 
lifted me, just as if I'd been a little child. And he seemed 
to know all I'd felt, and to have gone through it all. And 
I burst out crying — more than I 've done this five years, 
and he sat down by me, and stroked my head ; and I went 
blundering on, and told him all ; much worse things than 
I 've told you. And he was n't shocked a bit, and did n't 
snub me, or tell me I was a fool, and it was all nothing 
but pride or wickedness, though I dare say it was. And 
he did n't tell me not to follow out my thoughts, and he 
didn't give me any cut-and-dried explanation. But when 
I'd done he just talked a bit — I can hardly remember 
what he said, yet ; but it seemed to spread round me like 
healing, and strength, and light ; and to bear me up, and 
plant me on a rock, where I could hold my footing, and 
fight for myself. I don't know what to do, I feel so happy. 
And it 's all owing to you, dear old boy ! ' and he seized 
Tom's hand again. 

* And you 're to come to the Communion ? ' said Tom. 

'Yes, and to be confirmed in the holidays.' 

Tom's delight was as great as his friend's. But he 
had n't yet had out all his own talk, and was bent on 
improving the occasion : so he proceeded to propound 
Arthur's theory about not being sorry for his friends' 
deaths, which he had hitherto kept in the background, and 
by which he was much exercised ; for he did n't feel it 
honest to take what pleased him and throw over the rest, 



and was trying vigorously to persuade himself that he should 
like all his best friends to die off-hand. 

But East's powers of remaining serious were exhausted, 
and in five minutes he was saying the most ridiculous 
things he could think of, till Tom was almost getting 
angry again. 

Despite of himself, however, he couldn't help laughing 
and giving it up, when East appealed to him with • Well, 
Tom, you ain't going to punch my head, I hope, because 
I insist upon being sorry when you get to earth .-• ' 

And so their talk finished for that time, and they tried 
to learn first lesson ; with ver)' poor success, as appeared 
ne.xt morning, when they were called up and narrowly 
escaped being floored, which ill-luck, however, did not sit 
heavily on either of their souls. 


Sfom !Brown!<s JLast Match 

'■ Heaven grant the manlier heart, that timely, ere 
Touth Jiy, with lifers real tempest would be coping ; 
The fruit of dreamy hoping 
Is, waking, blank despair.'' 

Clough, 'Arnbarvalia ' 

jHE curtain now rises upon the last act of our 
little drama — for hard-hearted publishers 
warn me that a single volume must of 
necessity have an end. Well, well ! the 
pleasantest things must come to an end, 
I little thought last long vacation, when I 
began these pages to help while away some spare time at 
a watering-place, how vividly many an old scene, which had 



lain hid away for years in some dusty old corner of my 
brain, would come back again, and stand before me as clear 
and bright as if it had happened yesterday. The book has 
been a most grateful task to me, and I only hope that all 
you, my dear young friends who read it (friends assuredly 
you must be, if you get as far as this), will be half as sorry 
to come to the last stage as I am. 

Not but what there has been a solemn and a sad side to 
it. As the old scenes became living, and the actors in them 
became living too, many a grave in the Crimea and distant 
India, as well as in the quiet churchyards of our dear old 
countr)-, seemed to open and send forth their dead, and 
their voices and looks and ways were again in one's ears 
and eyes, as in the old school-days. But this was not 
sad ; how should it be, if we believe as our Lord has 
taught us? IIow should it be, when one more turn of the 
wheel, and we shall be by their sides again, learning from 
them again, perhaps, as we did when we were new boys } 

Then there were others of the old faces so dear to us 
once, who had somehow or another just gone clean out of 
sight — are they dead or living ? We know not, but the 
thought of them brings no sadness with it. Wherever 
they are, we can well believe they are doing God's work 
and getting His wages. 

But are there not some, whom we still see sometimes in 
the streets, whose haunts and homes we know, whom we 
could probably find almost any day in the week if we were 
set to do it, yet from whom we are really farther than we 
are from the dead, and from those who have gone out of 
our ken ? Yes, there are and must be such ; and therein 
lies the sadness of old School memories. Yet of these our 



old comrades, from whom more than time and space sepa- 
rate us, there are some, by whose sides we can feel sure 
that we shall stand again when time shall be no more. 
We may think of one another now as dangerous fanatics 
or narrow bigots, with whom no truce is possible, from 
whom we shall only sever more and more to the end of 
our lives, whom it would be our respective duties to 
imprison or hang, if we had the power. We must go our 
way, and they theirs, as long as flesh and spirit hold 
together : but let our own Rugby poet speak words of 
healing for this trial : — 


' To veer how vain ! on, onward strain, 
Brave barks ! in light, in darkness too ; 
Through winds and tides one compass guides, 
To that, and your own selves, be true. 

' But, O blithe breeze ! and O great seas. 
Though ne'er, that earliest parting past, 
On your wide plain they join again. 
Together lead them home at last. 

' One port, methought, alike they sought. 
One purpose hold where'er they fare. 
O bounding breeze, O rushing seas I 
At last, at last, unite them there ! ' * 

This is not mere longing, it is prophecy. So over these 
too, our old friends who are friends no more, we sorrow 
not as men without hope. It is only for those who seem 
to us to have lost compass and purpose, and to be driven 
helplessly on rocks and quicksands ; whose lives are spent 
in the service of the world, the flesh, and the devil, for 

* Clough's ' Ambarvalia.' 


self alone, and not for their fellow-men, their country, or 
their God, that we must mourn and pray without sure hope 
and without light ; trusting only that He, in whose hands 
they as well as we are, who has died for them as well 
as for us, who sees all His creatures 

' With larger other eyes than ours, 
To make allowance for us all,' 

will, in His own way and at His own time, lead them 
also home. 

Another two years have passed, and it is again the end 
of the summer half-year at Rugby ; in fact, the School has 
broken up. The fifth-form examinations were over last 
week, and upon them have followed the Speeches, and the 
sixth-form examinations for exhibitions ; and they too are 
over now. The boys have gone to all the winds of heaven, 
except the town boys and the eleven, and the few enthusi- 
asts besides who have asked leave to stay in their houses 
to see the result of the cricket matches. For this year the 
Wellesburn return match and the Marylebone match are 
played at Rugby, to the great delight of the town and 
neighbourhood, and the sorrow of those aspiring young 
cricketers who have been reckoning for the last three 
.months on showing off at Lord's ground. 

The Doctor started for the Lakes yesterday morning, 
after an interview with the Captain of the eleven, in the 
presence of Thomas, at which he arranged in what School 
the cricket dinners were to be, and all other matters neces- 
sary for the satisfactory carrying out of the festivities ; and 
warned them as to keeping all spirituous liquors out of the 
close, and having the gates closed by nine o'clock. 



The Wellesburn match was played out with great success 
yesterday, the School winning by three wickets ; and to-day 
the great event of the cricketing year, the Marylebone 
match, is being played. What a match it has been ! The 
London eleven came down by an afternoon train yesterday, 
in time to see the end of the Wellesburn match ; and as 
soon as it was over, their leading men and umpire inspected 
the ground, criticising it rather unmercifully. The Captain 
of the School eleven, and one or two others, who had 
played the Lord's match before, and knew old Mr. Aislabie 
and several of the Lord's men, accompanied them : while 
the rest of the eleven looked on from under the Three 
Trees with admiring eyes, and asked one another the 
names of the illustrious strangers, and recounted how 
many runs each of them had made in the late matches in 
BelVs Life. They looked such hard-bitten, wiry, whiskered 
fellows, that their young adversaries felt rather desponding 
as to the result of the morrow's match. The ground was 
at last chosen, and two men set to work upon it to water 
and roll ; and then, there being yet some half-hour of day- 
light, some one had suggested a dance on the turf. The 
close was half full of citizens and their families, and the 
idea was hailed with enthusiasm. The cornopean-player 
was still on the ground ; in five minutes the eleven and 
half a dozen of the Wellesburn and Marylebone men got 
partners somehow or another, and a merry country-dance 
was going on, to which every one flocked, and new couples 
joined in every minute, till there were a hundred of them 
going down the middle and up again — and the long line 
of School buildings looked gravely down on them, every 
window glowing with the last rays of the western sun, 



and the rooks clanged about in the tops of the old elms, 
greatly excited, and resolved on having their country-dance 
too, and the great flag flapped lazily in the gentle western 
breeze. Altogether it was a sight which would have made 
glad the heart of our brave old founder, Lawrence Sheriff, 
if he were half as good a fellow as I take him to have 
been. It was a cheerful sight to see ; but what made it so 
valuable in the sight of the Captain of the School eleven 
was, that he there saw his young hands shaking off their 
shyness and awe of the Lord's men, as they crossed hands 
and capered about on the grass together ; for the strangers 
entered into it all, and threw away their cigars, and danced 
and shouted like boys ; while old Mr. Aislabie stood by 
looking on in his white hat, leaning on a bat, in benevolent 
enjoyment. ' This hop will be worth thirty runs to us 
to-morrow, and will be the making of Raggles and Johnson,' 
thinks the young leader, as he revolves many things in his 
mind, standing by the side of Mr. Aislabie, whom he will 
not leave for a minute, for he feels that the character of 
the School for courtesy is resting on his shoulders. 

But when a quarter to nine struck, and he saw old 
Thomas beginning to fidget about with the keys in his 
hand, he thought of the Doctor's parting monition, and 
stopped the cornopean at once, notwithstanding the loud- 
voiced remonstrances from all sides ; and the crowd scat- 
tered away from the close, the eleven all going into the 
School-house, where supper and beds were provided for 
them by the Doctor's orders. 

Deep had been the consultations at supper as to the 
order of going in, who should bowl the first over, whether 
it would be best to play steady or freely ; and the youngest 



hands declared that they should n't be a bit nervous, and 
praised their opponents as the j oiliest fellows in the world, 
except perhaps their old friends the Wellesburn men. 
How far a little good-nature from their elders will go with 
the right sort of boys ! 

The morning had dawned bright and warm, to the in- 
tense relief of many an anxious youngster, up betimes to 
mark the signs of the weather. The eleven went down in a 
body before breakfast for a plunge in the cold bath in the 
corner of the close. The ground was in splendid order, and 
soon after ten o'clock, before spectators had arrived, all was 
ready, and two of the Lord's men took their places at the 
wicket ; the School, with the usual liberality of young hands, 
having put their adversaries in first. Old Bailey stepped up 
to the wicket, and called play, and the match has begun. 

' Oh, well bowled ! well bowled, Johnson ! ' cries the 
Captain, catching up the ball and sending it high above 
the rook trees, while the third Marylebone man walks 
away from the wicket, and old Bailey gravely sets up the 
middle stump again and puts the bails on. 

' How many runs ? ' Away scamper three boys to the 
scoring-table, and are back again in a minute amongst the 
rest of the eleven, who are collected together in a knot 
between wicket. ' Only eighteen runs, and three wickets 
down ! ' ' Huzza for old Rugby ! ' sings out Jack Raggles 
the long-stop, toughest and burliest of boys, commonly 
called ' Swiper Jack ' ; and forthwith stands on his head, 
and brandishes his legs in the air in triumph, till the next 
boy catches hold of his heels, and throws him over on to 
his back. 


'Steady there, don't be such an ass, Jack,' says the 
Captain; 'we haven't got the best wicket yet. Ah, look 
out now at cover-point,' adds he, as he sees a long-armed, 
bare-headed, slashing-looking player coming to the wicket. 
' And, Jack, mind your hits ; he steals more runs than any 
man in England.' 

And they all find that they have got their work to do 
now ; the new-comer's off-hitting is tremendous, and his 
running like a flash of lightning. He is never in his 
ground, except when his wicket is down. Nothing in the 
whole game so trying to boys ; he has stolen three byes in 
the first ten minutes, and Jack Raggles is furious, and 
begins throwing over savagely to the further wicket, until 
he is sternly stopped by the Captain. It is all that young 
gentleman can do to keep his team steady, but he knows 
that everything depends on it, and faces his work bravely. 
The score creeps up to fifty, the boys begin to look blank, 
and the spectators, who are now mustering strong, are very 
silent. The ball flies off his bat to all parts of the field, 
and he gives no rest and no catches to any one. But 
cricket is full of glorious chances, and the goddess who 
presides over it loves to bring down the most skilful 
players. Johnson the young bowler is getting wild, and 
bowls a ball almost wide to the off ; the batter steps out 
and cuts it beautifully to where cover-point is standing 
very deep, in fact almost off the ground. The ball comes 
skimming and twisting along about three feet from the 
ground ; he rushes at it, and it sticks somehow or other 
in the fingers of his left hand, to the utter astonishment 
of himself and the whole field. Such a catch has n't been 
made in the close for years, and the cheering is maddening. 



'Pretty cricket,' says the Captain, throwing himself on the 
ground by the deserted wicket with a long breath ; he feels 
that a crisis has passed. 

I wish I had space to describe the whole match ; how 
the Captain stumped the next man off a leg-shooter, and 
bowled slow cobs to old Mr. Aislabie, who came in for 
the last wicket. How the Lord's men were out by half- 
past twelve o'clock for ninety-eight runs. How the Captain 
of the School eleven went in first to give his men pluck, 
and scored twenty-five in beautiful style ; how Rugby was 
only four behind in the first innings. What a glorious 
dinner they had in the fourth-form School, and how the 
cover-point hitter sang the most topping comic songs, and 
old Mr. Aislabie made the best speeches that ever were 
heard, afterwards. But I have n't space, that 's the fact, and 
so you must fancy it all, and carry yourselves on to half- 
past seven o'clock, when the School are again in, with five 
wickets down and only thirty-two runs to make to win. 
The Marylebone men played carelessly in their second 
innings, but they are working like horses now to save 
the match. 

There is much healthy, hearty, happy life scattered up 
and down the close ; but the group to which I beg to call 
your especial attention is there, on the slope of the island, 
which looks towards the cricket-ground. It consists of three 
figures ; two are seated on a bench, and one on the ground 
at their feet. The first, a tall, slight, and rather gaunt 
man, with a bushy eyebrow, and a dry, humorous smile, is 
evidently a clergyman. He is carelessly dressed, and looks 
rather used up, which is n't much to be wondered at, seeing 
that he has just finished six weeks of examination work ; but 



there he basks, and spreads himself out in the evening sun, 
bent on enjoying Hfe, though he does n't quite know what to 
do with his arms and legs. Surely it is our friend the young 
Master, whom we have had glimpses of before, but his face 
has gained a great deal since we last came across him. 

And by his side, in white flannel shirt and trousers, 
straw hat, the Captain's belt, and the untanned yellow 
cricket shoes which all the eleven wear, sits a strapping 
figure, near six feet high, with ruddy tanned face and 
whiskers, curly brown hair, and a laughing, dancing eye. 
He is leaning forward with his elbows resting on his knees, 
and dandling his favourite bat with which he has made 
thirty or forty runs to-day, in his strong brown hands. It 
is Tom Brown, grown into a young man nineteen years 
old, a praepostor and Captain of the eleven, spending his 
last day as a Rugby boy, and let us hope as much wiser 
as he is bigger, since we last had the pleasure of coming 
across him. 

And at their feet on the warm dry ground, similarly 
dressed, sits Arthur, Turkish fashion, with his bat across 
his knees. He, too, is no longer a boy, less of a boy, in 
fact, than Tom, if one may judge from the thoughtfulness 
of his face, which is somewhat paler, too, than one could 
wish ; but his figure, though slight, is well knit and active, 
and all his old timidity has disappeared, and is replaced by 
silent, quaint fun, with which his face twinkles all over, as 
he listens to the broken talk between the other two, in 
which he joins every now and then. 

All three are watching the game eagerly, and joining in 
the cheering which follows every good hit. It is pleasing 
to see the easy, friendly footing which the pupils are on 



I \i,, Mil '(■ 





with their master, perfectly respectful, yet with no reserve, 
and nothing forced in their intercourse. Tom has clearly 
abandoned the old theory of ' natural enemies ' in this case, 
at any rate. 

But it is time to listen to what they are saying, and see 
what we can gather out of it. 

'I don't object to your theory,' says the master, 'and I 
allow )ou have made a fair case for yourself. But now, in 
such books as Aristophanes, for instance, you 've been 
reading a play this half with the Doctor, have n't you i ' 

* Yes, the Knights,' answered Tom. 

'Well, I'm sure you would have enjoyed the wonderful 
humour of it twice as much if you had taken more pains 
with your scholarship.' 

'Well, sir, I don't believe any boy in the form enjoyed 
the sets-to between Cleon and the Sausage-seller more than 
I did — eh, Arthur ? ' said Tom, giving him a stir with 
his foot. 

'Yes, I must say he did,' said Arthur. 'I think, sir, 
you 've hit upon the wrong book there.' 

'Not a bit of it,' said the master. 'Why, in those very 
passages of arms, how can you thoroughly appreciate them 
unless you are master of the weapons .'' and the weapons 
are the language, which you. Brown, have never half 
worked at ; and so, as I say, you must have lost all the 
delicate shades of meaning which make the best part 
of the fun.' 

' Oh ! well played — bravo, Johnson ! ' shouted Arthur, 
dropping his hat and clapping furiously, and Tom joined 
in with a ' Bravo, Johnson ! ' which might have been heard 
at the chapel. 




'Eh! what was it? I didn't see,' inquired the master; 
* they only got one run, I thought ? ' 

' No, but such a ball, three-quarters length, and coming 
straight for his leg-bail. Nothing but that turn of the wrist 
could have saved him, and he drew it away to leg for a 
safe one. Bravo, Johnson ! ' 

'How well they are bowling, though,' said Arthur, 'they 
don't mean to be beat, I can see.' 

'There, now,' struck in the master, 'you see that's just 
what I have been preaching this half-hour. The delicate 
play is the true thing. I don't understand cricket, so I don't 
enjoy those fine draws which you tell me are the best play, 
though when you or Raggles hit a ball hard away for six I 
am as delighted as any one. Don't you see the analogy?' 

'Yes, sir,' answered Tom, looking up roguishly, 'I see; 
only the question remains whether I should have got most 
good by understanding Greek particles or cricket thoroughly. 
I'm such a thick, I never should have had time for both.' 

' I see you are an incorrigible,' said the master with 
a chuckle ; ' but I refute you by an example. Arthur there 
has taken in Greek and cricket too.' 

' Yes, but no thanks to him ; Greek came natural to him. 
Why, when he first came I remember he used to read 
Herodotus for pleasure as I did Don Quixote, and couldn't 
have made a false concord if he 'd tried ever so hard — 
and then I looked after his cricket.' 

' Out ! Bailey has given him out — do you see, Tom ? ' 
cries Arthur. ' How foolish of them to run so hard ! ' 

' Well, it can't be helped, he has played very well. 
Whose turn is it to go in ? ' 

' I don't know ; they 've got your list in the tent.' 



' Let *s go and see,' said Tom, rising ; but at this moment 
Jack Raggles and two or three more came running to the 
island moat. 

' Oh, Brown, may n't I go in next ? ' shouts the Swiper. 

' Whose name is next on the hst ? ' says the Captain. 

'Winter's, and then Arthur's,' answers the boy who 
carries it ; ' but there are only twenty-six runs to get, and 
no time to lose. I heard Mr. Aislabie say that the stumps 
must be drawn at a quarter-past eight exactly.' 

' Oh, do let the Swiper go in,' chorus the boys ; so Tom 
yields against his better judgment. 

' I dare say now I 've lost the match by this nonsense,' 
he says, as he sits down again ; ' they '11 be sure to get 
Jack's wicket in three or four minutes ; however, you '11 
have the chance, sir, of seeing a hard hit or two,' adds he, 
smiling, and turning to the master. 

'Come, none of your irony, Brown,' answers the master. 
' I'm beginning to understand the game, scientifically. What 
a noble game it is, too ! ' 

' Is n't it ? But it 's more than a game. It 's an institu- 
tion,' said Tom. 

'Yes,' said Arthur, 'the birthright of British boys old and 
young, as habeas corpus and trial by jury are of British men.' 

' The discipline and reliance on one another which it 
teaches is so valuable, I think,' went on the master, 'it 
ought to be such an unselfish game. It merges the indi- 
vidual in the eleven ; he does n't play that he may win, but 
that his side may.' 

'That's very true,' said Tom, 'and that's why football 
and cricket, now one comes to think of it, are such better 
games than fives or hare-and-hounds, or any others where 



the object is to come in first or to win for oneself, and not 
that one's side may win.' 

' And then the Captain of the eleven ! ' said the master, 
' what a post is his in our School-world ! almost as hard as 
the Doctor's ; requiring skill and gentleness and firmness, 
and I know not what other rare qualities.' 

' Which don't he wish he may get ? ' said Tom, laughing; 
' at any rate, he has n't got them yet, or he would n't have 
been such a flat to-night as to let Jack Raggles go in out 
of his turn.' 

'Ah! the Doctor never would have done that,' said 
Arthur demurely. ' Tom, you 've a great deal to learn yet 
in the art of ruling.' 

' Well, I wish you 'd tell the Doctor so, then, and get 
him to let me stop till I'm twenty. I don't want to leave, 
I'm sure.' 

'What a sight it is,' broke in the master, 'the Doctor 
as a ruler. Perhaps ours is the only little corner of the 
British Empire which is thoroughly, wisely, and strongly 
ruled just now. I'm more and more thankful every day of 
my life that I came here to be under him.' 

'So am I, I'm sure,' said Tom; 'and more and more 
sorry that I 've got to leave.' 

' Every place and thing one sees here reminds one of 
some wise act of his,' went on the master. 'This island 
now — you remember the time, Brown, when it was laid 
out in small gardens, and cultivated by frostbitten fags in 
February and March ? ' 

'Of course I do,' said Tom; 'didn't I hate spending 
two hours in the afternoons grubbing in the tough dirt with 
the stump of a fives-bat .'' But turf-cajt was good fun enough.' 



' I dare say it was, but it was always leading to fights with 
the townspeople ; and then the stealing flowers out of all 
the gardens in Rugby for the Easter show was abominable.' 

'Well, so it was,' said Tom, looking down, 'but we fags 
could n't help ourselves. But what has that to do with the 
Doctor's ruling .? ' 

'A great deal, I think,' said the master; 'what brought 
island-fagging to an end ? ' 

' Why, the Easter Speeches were put off till Midsummer,' 
said Tom, 'and the sixth had the g)'mnastic poles put up here.' 

' Well, and who changed the time of the Speeches, and 
put the idea of g)'mnastic poles into the heads of their 
worships the sixth form .-' ' said the master. 

'The Doctor, I suppose,' said Tom. 'I never thought 
of that.' 

'Of course you didn't,' said the master, 'or else, fag as 
you were, you would have shouted with the whole school 
against putting down old customs. And that 's the way that 
all the Doctor's reforms have been carried out when he has 
been left to himself — quietly and naturally putting a good 
thing in the place of a bad, and letting the bad die out ; 
no wavering and no hurry — the best thing that could be 
done for the time being, and patience for the rest.' 

'Just Tom's own way,' chimed in Arthur, nudging Tom 
with his elbow, ' driving a nail where it will go ' ; to which 
allusion Tom answered by a sly kick. 

* Exactly so,' said the master, innocent of the allusion 
and by-play. 

Meantime Jack Raggles, with his sleeves tucked up above 
his great brown elbows, scorning pads and gloves, has pre- 
sented himself at the wicket ; and having run one for a 




forward drive of Johnson's, is about to receive his first ball. 
There are only twenty-four runs to make, and four wickets 
to go down ; a winning match if they play decently steady. 
The ball is a very swift one, and rises fast, catching Jack 
on the outside of the thigh, and bounding away as if from 
india-rubber, while they run two for a leg-bye amidst great 
applause, and shouts from Jack's many admirers. The next 
ball is a beautifully pitched ball for the outer stump, which 
the reckless and unfeeling Jack catches hold of, and hits 
right round to leg for five, while the applause becomes 
deafening : only seventeen runs to get with four wickets — 
the game is all but ours ! 

It is over now, and Jack walks swaggering about his 
wicket, with the bat over his shoulder, while Mr. Aislabie 
holds a short parley with his men. Then the cover-point 
hitter, that cunning man, goes on to bowl slow twisters. 
Jack waves his hand triumphantly towards the tent, as 
much as to say, ' See if I don't finish it all off now in 
three hits.' 

Alas, my son Jack ! the enemy is too old for thee. The 
first ball of the over Jack steps out and meets, swiping with 
all his force. If he had only allowed for the twist ! but he 
hasn't, and so the ball goes spinning up straight into the 
air, as if it would never come down again. Away runs Jack, 
shouting and trusting to the chapter of accidents, but the 
bowler runs steadily under it, judging every spin, and calling 
out ' I have it,' catches it, and playfully pitches it on to the 
back of the stalwart Jack, who is departing with a rueful 

'I knew how it would be,' says Tom, rising. 'Come 
along, the game 's getting very serious.' 



So they leave the island and go to the tent, and after 
deep consultation Arthur is sent in, and goes off to the 
wicket with a last exhortation from Tom to play steady and 
keep his bat straight. To the suggestions that Winter is 
the best bat left, Tom only replies, 'Arthur is the steadiest, 
and Johnson will make the runs if the wicket is only kept up.' 

' I am surprised to see Arthur in the eleven,' said the 
master, as they stood together in front of the dense crowd, 
which was now closing in round the ground. 

'Well, I'm not quite sure that he ought to be in for his 
play,' said Tom, 'but I couldn't help putting him in. It will 
do him so much good, and you can't think what I owe him.' 

The master smiled. The clock strikes eight, and the 
whole field becomes fevered with excitement. Arthur, after 
two narrow escapes, scores one ; and Johnson gets the ball. 
The bowling and fielding are superb, and Johnson's batting 
worthy the occasion. He makes here a two, and there a 
one, managing to keep the ball to himself, and Arthur 
backs up and runs perfectly : only eleven runs to make 
now. and the crowd scarcely breathe. At last Arthur gets 
the ball again, and actually drives it forward for two, and 
feels prouder than when he got the three best prizes, at 
hearing Tom's shout of joy, ' Well played, well played, 
young un ! ' 

But the next ball is too much for a young hand, and his 
bails fly different ways. Nine runs to make, and two wickets 
to go down — it is too much for human nerves. 

Before Winter can get in, the omnibus which is to take 
the Lord's men to the train pulls up at the side of the 
close, and I\Ir. Aislabie and Tom consult, and give out 
that the stumps will be drawn after the next over. And so 



ends the great match. Winter and Johnson carry out their 
bats, and, it being a one day's match, the Lord's men are 
declared the winners, they having scored the most in the 
first innings. 

But such a defeat is a victory : so think Tom and all 
the School eleven, as they accompany their conquerors to 
the omnibus, and send them off with three ringing cheers, 
after Mr. Aislabie has shaken hands all round, saying to 
Tom, ' I must compliment you, sir, on your eleven, and I hope 
we shall have you for a member if you come up to town.' 

As Tom and the rest of the eleven were turning back 
into the close, and everybody was beginning to cry out for 
another country-dance, encouraged by the success of the 
night before, the young master, who was just leaving the 
close, stopped him, and asked him to come up to tea at 
half-past eight, adding, * I won't keep you more than half 
an hour, and ask Arthur to come up too.' 

* I '11 come up with you directly, if you '11 let me,' said 
Tom, ' for I feel rather melancholy, and not quite up to the 
countr)''-dance and supper with the rest.' 

' Do by all means,' said the master ; ' I '11 wait here for you.' 

So Tom went off to get his boots and things from the 
tent, to tell Arthur of the invitation, and to speak to his 
second in command about stopping the dancing and shut- 
ting up the close as soon as it grew dusk. Arthur promised 
to follow as soon as he had had a dance. So Tom handed 
his things over to the man in charge of the tent, and walked 
quietly away to the gate where the master was waiting, and 
the two took their way together up the Hillmorton road. 

Of course they found the master's house locked up, and 
all the servants away in the close, about this time no doubt 



footing it away on the grass with extreme dehght to them- 
selves, and in utter obHvion of the unfortunate bachelor 
their master, whose one enjoyment in the shape of meals 
was his ' dish of tea ' (as our grandmothers called it) in the 
evening ; and the phrase was apt in his case, for he always 
poured his out into the saucer before drinking. Great was 
the good man's horror at finding himself shut out of his 
own house. Had he been alone, he would have treated it 
as a matter of course, and would have strolled contentedly 
up and down his gravel-walk until some one came home ; but 
he was hurt at the stain on his character of host, especially as 
the guest was a pupil. However, the guest seemed to think 
it a great joke, and presently, as they poked about round 
the house, mounted a wall, from which he could reach a 
passage window : the window, as it turned out, was not 
bolted, so in another minute Tom was in the house and 
down at the front door, which he opened from inside. The 
master chuckled grimly at this burglarious entry, and in- 
sisted on leaving the hall-door and two of the front windows 
open, to frighten the truants on their return ; and then the 
two set about foraging for tea, in which operation the mas- 
ter was much at fault, having the faintest possible idea of 
where to find anything, and being, moreover, wondrously 
short-sighted ; but Tom by a sort of instinct knew the right 
cupboards in the kitchen and pantry, and soon managed 
to place on the snuggery table better materials for a meal 
than had appeared there probably during the reign of his 
tutor, who was then and there initiated, amongst other things, 
•into the excellence of that mysterious condiment, a dripping- 
cake. The cake was newly baked, and all rich and flaky ; 
Tom had found it reposing in the cook's private cupboard, 



awaiting her return ; and as a warning to her, they finished 
it to the last crumb. The kettle sang away merrily on the 
hob of the snuggery, for, notwithstanding the time of year, 
they lighted a fire, throwing both the windows wide open at 
the same time ; the heap of books and papers were pushed 
away to the other end of the table, and the great solitary 
engraving of King's College Chapel over the mantelpiece 
looked less stiff than usual, as they settled themselves down 
in the twilight to the serious drinking of tea. 

After some talk on the match, and other indifferent 
subjects, the conversation came naturally back to Tom's 
approaching departure, over which he began again to 
make his moan. 

' Well, we shall all miss you quite as much as you will 
miss us,' said the master. 'You are the Nestor of the 
School now, are you not ? ' 

'Yes, ever since East left,' answered Tom. 

' By the by, have you heard from him ? ' 

' Yes, I had a letter in February, just before he started 
for India to join his -regiment.' 

' He will make a capital officer.' 

' Aye, won't he ! ' said Tom, brightening ; ' no fellow 
could handle boys better, and I suppose soldiers are very 
like boys. And he '11 never tell them to go where he 
won't go himself. No mistake about that — a braver fellow 
never walked.' 

' His year in the sixth will have taught him a good deal 
that will be useful to him now.' 

' So it will,' said Tom, staring into the fire. ' Poor dear 
Harry,' he went on, ' how well I remember the day we 
were put out of the twenty. How he rose to the situation, 



and burnt his cigar-cases, and gave away his pistols, and 
pondered on the constitutional authority of the sixth, and his 
new duties to the Doctor, and the fifth form, and the fags. 
Aye, and no fellow ever acted up to them better, though he 
was always a people's man — for the fags, and against con- 
stituted authorities. lie couldn't help that, you know. I'm 
sure the Doctor must have liked him ^ ' said Tom, looking 
up inquiringly. 

' The Doctor sees the good in everyone, and appreciates 
it,' said the master dogmatically; 'but I hope East will get 
a good colonel. He won't do if he can't respect those above 
him. How long it took him, even here, to learn the lesson 
of obeying.' 

'Well, I wish I were alongside of him,' said Tom. 'If 
I can't be at Rugby, I want to be at work in the world, and 
not dawdling away three years at Oxford.' 

' What do you mean by " at work in the world " ? ' said 
the master, pausing, with his lips close to his saucerful of 
tea, and peering at Tom over it. 

* Well, I mean real work ; one's profession ; whatever one 
will have really to do, and make one's living by. I want 
to be doing some real good, feeling that I am not only at 
play in the w^orld,' answered Tom, rather puzzled to find 
out himself what he really did mean. 

' You are mixing up two very different things in your head, 
I think. Brown,' said the master, putting down the empty 
saucer, 'and you ought to get clear about them. You talk 
of " working to get your living " and " doing some real 
good in the world," in the same breath. Now, you may be 
getting a very good living in a profession, and yet doing no 
good at all in the world, but quite the contrar)', at the same 



time. Keep the latter before you as your one object, and 
you will be right, whether you make a living or not ; but if 
you dwell on the other you '11 very likely drop into mere 
money-making, and let the world take care of itself for good 
or evil. Don't be in a hurry about finding your work in the 
world for yourself ; you are not old enough to judge for 
yourself yet, but just look about you in the place you find 
yourself in, and try to make things a little better and hon- 
ester there. You '11 find plenty to keep your hand in at 
Oxford, or wherever else you go. And don't be led away 
to think this part of the world important, and that unim- 
portant. Every corner of the world is important. No man 
knows whether this part or that is most so, but every man 
may do some honest work in his own corner.' And then 
the good man went on to talk wisely to Tom of the sort of 
work which he might take up as an undergraduate ; and 
warned him of the prevalent University sins, and explained 
to him the many and great differences between University 
and School life ; till the twilight changed into darkness, 
and they heard the .truant servants stealing in by the back 

' I wonder where Arthur can be,' said Tom at last, looking 
at his watch; 'why, it's nearly half-past nine already.' 

* Oh, he is comfortably at .supper with the eleven, forget- 
ful of his oldest friends,' said the master. ' Nothing has 
given me greater pleasure,' he went on, 'than your friend- 
ship for him ; it has been the making of you both.' 

' Of me, at any rate,' answered Tom ; ' I should never 
have been here now but for him. It was the luckiest 
chance in the world that sent him to Rugby, and made 
him my chum.' 



' Why do you talk of lucky chances ? ' said the master ; 
'I don't know that there are any such things in the world; 
at any rate there was neither luck nor chance in that 

Tom looked at him inquiringly, and he went on. * Do 
you remember when the Doctor lectured you and East at 
the end of one half-year, when you were in the shell, and 
had been getting into all sorts of scrapes .-' ' 

'Yes, well enough,' said Tom; 'it was the half-year 
before Arthur came.' 

' Exactly so,' answered the master. ' Now, I was with 
him a few minutes afterwards, and he was in great distress 
about you two. And, after some talk, we both agreed that 
you in particular wanted some object in the School beyond 
games and mischief; for it was quite clear that you never 
would make the regular school work your first object. And 
so the Doctor, at the beginning of the next half-year, looked 
out the best of the new boys, and separated you and East, 
and put the young boy into your study, in the hope that 
when you had somebody to lean on you, you would begin 
to stand a little steadier yourself, and get manliness and 
thoughtfulness. And I can assure you he has watched the 
experiment ever since with great satisfaction. Ah ! not one 
of you boys will ever know the anxiety you have given him, 
or the care with which he has watched over every step in 
your school lives.' 

Up to this time, Tom had never wholly given in to, or 
understood, the Doctor. At first he had thoroughly feared 
him. For some years, as I have tried to show, he had 
learnt to regard him with love and respect, and to think 
him a very great and wise and good man. But, as regarded 



his own position in the Scliool, of which he was no little 
proud, Tom had no idea of giving any one credit for it but 
himself ; and, truth to tell, was a very self-conceited young 
gentleman on the subject. He was wont to boast that he 
had fought his own way fairly up the School, and had never 
made up to, or been taken up by, any big fellow or master, 
and that it was now quite a different place from what it 
was when he first came. And, indeed, though he didn't 
actually boast of it, yet in his secret soul he did to a great 
extent believe, that the great reform in the School had been 
owing quite as much to himself as to any one else, Arthur, 
he acknowledged, had done him good, and taught him, a 
good deal, so had other boys in different ways, but they had 
not had the same means of influence on the School in gen- 
eral ; and as for the Doctor, why, he was a splendid master, 
but every one knew that masters could do very little out of 
school hours. In short, he felt on terms of equality with 
his chief, so far as the social state of the School was con- 
cerned, and thought that the Doctor would find it no easy 
matter to get on without him. Moreover, his school Tory- 
ism was still strong, and he looked still with some jealousy 
on the Doctor, as somewhat of a fanatic in the matter of 
change ; and thought it very desirable for the School that 
he should have some wise person (such as himself) to look 
sharply after vested school rights, and see that nothing was 
done to the injury of the republic without due protest. 

It was a new light to him to find that, besides teaching 
the sixth, and governing and guiding the whole School, 
editing classics, and writing histories, the great Headmaster 
had found time in those busy years to watch over the career, 
even of him, Tom Brown, and his particular friends — and, 

[ 399 ] 


no doubt, of fifty other boys at the same time ; and all 
this without taking the least credit to himself, or seeming 
to know, or let any one else know, that he ever thought 
particularly of any boy at all. 

However, the Doctor's victory was complete from that 
moment over Tom Brown, at any rate. He gave way at all 
points, and the enemy marched right over him — cavalry, 
infantry, and artillery, the land transport corps, and the 
camp-followers. It had taken eight long years to do it, but 
now it was done thoroughly, and there was n't a corner of 
him left which did n't believe in the Doctor. Had he 
returned to School again, and the Doctor begun the half- 
year by abolishing fagging, and football, and the Saturday 
half-holiday, or all or any of the most cherished school 
institutions, Tom would have supported him with the 
blindest faith. And so, after a half confession of his 
previous shortcomings, and sorrowful adieus to his tutor, 
from whom he received two beautifully bound volumes of 
the Doctor's Sermons, as a parting present, he marched 
down to the School-house a hero-worshipper, who would 
have satisfied the soul of Thomas Carlyle himself. 

There he found the eleven at high jinks after supper, 
Jack Raggles shouting comic songs, and performing feats 
of strength ; and was greeted by a chorus of mingled 
remonstrance at his desertion and joy at his reappearance. 
And falling in with the humour of the evening, was soon 
as great a boy as all the rest ; and at ten o'clock was 
chaired round the quadrangle, on one of the hall benches 
borne aloft by the eleven, shouting in chorus, ' For he 's a 
jolly good fellow,' while old Thomas, in a melting mood, 
and the other School-house servants, stood looking on. 




And the next morning after breakfast he squared up all 
the cricketing accounts, went round to his tradesmen and 
other acquaintance, and said his hearty good-byes ; and by 
twelve o'clock was in the train, and away for London, no 
longer a schoolboy, and divided in his thoughts between 
hero-worship, honest regrets over the long stage of his life 
which was now slipping out of sight behind him, and 
hopes and resolves for the next stage upon which he was 
entering with all the confidence of a young traveller. 


* Strange friend, past, present, and to be ; 
Loved deeplier, darklier understood ; 
Behold, I dream a dream of good. 
And mingle all the world with thee. ' 


N THE summer of 1842 our hero stopped 
once again at the well-known station : and, 
leaving his bag and fishing-rod with a por- 
ter, walked slowly and sadly up towards the 
town. It was now July. He had rushed 
away from Oxford the moment that term 
was over, for a fishing ramble in Scotland with two college 
friends, and had been for three weeks living on oat-cake, 
mutton-hams, and whisky, in the wildest parts of Skye. 
They had descended one sultry evening on the little inn at 
Kyle Rhea ferry, and while Tom and another of the party 
put their tackle together and began exploring the stream foi 

[ 403 ] 


a sea-trout for supper, the third strolled into the house to 
arrange for their entertainment. Presently he came out in 
a loose blouse and slippers, a short pipe in his mouth and 
an old newspaper in his hand, and threw himself on the 
heathery scrub which met the shingle, within easy hail of 
the fishermen. There he lay, the picture of free-and-easy, 
loafing, hand-to-mouth young England, 'improving his mind,' 
as he shouted to them, by the perusal of the fortnight-old 
weekly paper, soiled with the marks of toddy-glasses and 
tobacco-ashes, the legacy of the last traveller, which he had 
hunted out from the kitchen of the little hostelry, and being 
a youth of a communicative turn of mind, began imparting 
the contents to the fishermen as he went on. 

' What a bother they are making about these wretched 
Corn Laws ! Here 's three or four columns full of nothing 
but sliding-scales and fixed duties, — Hang this tobacco, 
it's always going out! — Ah, here's something better — a 
splendid match between Kent and England, Brown ! Kent 
winning by three wickets. Felix fifty-six runs without a 
chance, and not out ! ' 

Tom, intent on a fish which had risen at him twice, 
answered only with a grunt. 

* Anything about the Goodwood ? ' called out the third 

' Rory-o-More drawn. Butterfly colt amiss,' shouted the 

'Just my luck,' grumbled the inquirer, jerking his flies 
off the water, and throwing again with a heavy sullen 
splash, and frightening Tom's fish. 

' I say, can't you throw lighter over there .? We ain't 
fishing for grampuses,' shouted Tom across the stream. 

[ 404 ] 


'Hullo, Brown! here's something for you,' called out 
the reading man next moment. ' Why, your old master, 
Arnold of Rugby, is dead.' 

Tom's hand stopped half-way in his cast, and his line 
and flies went all tangling round and round his rod ; you 
might have knocked him over with a feather. Neither of 
his companions took any notice of him, luckily ; and with 
a violent effort he set to work mechanically to disentangle 
his line. He felt completely carried off his moral and 
intellectual legs, as if he had lost his standing-point in the 
invisible world. Besides which, the deep loving loyalty 
which he felt for his old leader made the shock intensely 
painful. It was the first great wrench of his life, the first 
gap which the angel Death had made in his circle, and he 
felt numbed, and beaten down, and spiritless. Well, well ! 
I believe it was good for him and for many others in like 
case ; who had to learn by that loss that the soul of man 
cannot stand or lean upon any human prop, however 
strong, and wise, and good ; but that He upon whom 
alone it can stand and lean will knock away all such 
props in His own wise and merciful way, until there is 
no ground or stay left but Himself, the Rock of Ages, 
upon whom alone a sure foundation for every soul of man 
is laid. 

As he wearily laboured at his line, the thought struck 
him, * It may all be false, a mere newspaper lie,' and he 
strode up to the recumbent smoker. 

' Let me look at the paper,' said he. 

* Nothing else in it,' answered the other, handing it up 
to him listlessly. — ' Hullo, Brown ! what 's the matter, old 
fellow — ain't you well ? ' 

[ 405 ] 


' Where is it ? ' said Tom, turning over the leaves, his 
hands trembling and his eyes swimming, so that he could 
not read. 

' What ? What are you looking for ? ' said his friend, 
jumping up and looking over his shoulder. 

'That — about Arnold,' said Tom. 

'Oh, here,' said the other, putting his finger on the 
paragraph. Tom read it over and over again ; there could 
be no mistake of identity, though the account was short 

'Thank you,' said he at last, dropping the paper. 'I 
shall go for a walk : don't you and Herbert wait supper for 
me.' And away he strode, up over the moor at the back 
of the house, to be alone, and master his grief if possible. 

His friend looked after him, sympathizing and wonder- 
ing, and, knocking the ashes out of his pipe, walked over 
to Herbert. After a short parley, they walked together up 
to the house. 

' I'm afraid that confounded newspaper has spoiled 
Brown's fun for this trip.' 

' How odd that he should be so fond of his old master,' 
said Herbert. Yet they also were both public-school men. 

The two, however, notwithstanding Tom's prohibition, 
waited supper for him, and had ever)^thing ready when he 
came back some half an hour afterwards. But he could 
not join in their cheerful talk, and the party was soon 
silent, notwithstanding the efforts of all three. One thing 
only had Tom resolved, and that was, that he could n't 
stay in Scotland any longer ; he felt an irresistible longing 
to get to Rugby, and then home, and soon broke it to the 
others, who had too much tact to oppose. 



So by daylight the next morning he was marching 
through Ross-shire, and in the evening hit the Caledonian 
Canal, took the next steamer, and travelled as fast as boat 
and railway could carry him to the Rugby station. 

As he walked up to the town, he felt shy and afraid of 
being seen, and took the back streets ; why, he did n't know, 
but he followed his instinct. At the School-gates he made a 
dead pause; there was not a soul in the quadrangle — all was 
lonely, and silent, and sad. So with another effort he strode 
through the quadrangle, and into the School-house offices. 

He found the little matron in her room in deep mourn- 
ing ; shook her hand, tried to talk, and moved nervously 
about : she was evidently thinking of the same subject as 
he, but he could n't begin talking. 

' Where shall I find Thomas ? ' said he at last, getting 

' In the servants' hall, I think, sir. But won't you take 
anything ? ' said the matron, looking rather disappointed. 

' No, thank you,' said he, and strode off again to find the 
old Verger, who was sitting in his little den as of old, 
puzzling over hieroglyphics. 

He looked up through his spectacles, as Tom seized his 
hand and wrung it. 

'Ah! you've heard all about it, sir, I see,' said he. 

Tom nodded, and then sat down on the shoe-board, while 
the old man told his tale, and wiped his spectacles, and 
fairly flowed over with quaint, homely, honest sorrow. 

By the time he had done, Tom felt much better. 

' Where is he buried, Thomas .? ' said he at last. 

' Under the altar in the chapel, sir,' answered Thomas. 
' You 'd like to have the key, I dare say.' 

[ 407 ] 


'Thank you, Thomas. Yes, I should very much.' And 
the old man fumbled among his bunch, and then got up, 
as though he would go with him ; but after a few steps 
stopped short, and said, * Perhaps you 'd like to go by your- 
self, sir ? ' 

Tom nodded, and the bunch of keys were handed to 
him, with an injunction to be sure and lock the door after 
him, and bring them back before eight o'clock. 

He walked quickly through the quadrangle and out into 
the close. The longing which had been upon him and 
driven him thus far, like the gadfly in the Greek legends, 
giving him no rest in mind or body, seemed all of a sudden 
not to be satisfied, but to shrivel up, and pall. ' Why should 
I go on? It's no use,' he thought, and threw himself at 
full length on the turf, and looked vaguely and listlessly at 
all the well-known objects. There were a few of the town 
boys playing cricket, their wicket pitched on the best piece 
in the middle of the big-side ground : a sin about equal to 
sacrilege in the eyes of a captain of the eleven. He was 
ver)' nearly getting up to go and send them off. ' Pshaw ! 
they won't remember me. They've more right there than 
I,' he muttered. And the thought that his sceptre had de- 
parted, and his mark w^as wearing out, came home to him 
for the first time, and bitterly enough. He was lying on the 
very spot where the fights came off ; where he himself had 
fought six years ago his first and last battle. He conjured 
up the scene till he could almost hear the shouts of the 
ring, and East's whisper in his ear ; and looking across the 
close to the Doctor's private door, half expected to see it 
open, and the tall figure in cap and gown come striding 
under the elm-trees towards him. 





No, no ! that sight could never be seen again. There 
was no flag flying on the round tower ; the School-house 
windows were all shuttered up : and when the flag went up 
again and the shut- 
ters came down, it 
would be to welcome 
a stranger. All that 
was left on earth of 
him whom he had 
honoured was lying 
cold and still under 
the chapel floor. 
He would go in and 
see the place once 
more, and then 
leave it once for all. 
New men and new 
methods might do 
for other people ; let 
those who would, ■ 
worship the rising 
star ; he at least 
would be faithful to 
the sun which had 
set. And so he got 
up, and walked to 
the chapel door and unlocked it, fancying himself the only 
mourner in all the broad land, and feeding on his own 
selfish sorrow. 

He passed through the vestibule, and then paused for a 
moment to glance over the empty benches. His heart was 

[ 409 ] 





still proud and high, and he walked up to the seat which 
he had last occupied as a sixth-form boy, and sat himself 
down there to collect his thoughts. 

And, truth to tell, they needed collecting and setting in 
order not a litde. The memories of eight years were all 
dancing through his brain, and carr^'ing him about whither 
they would ; while beneath them all, his heart was throb- 
bing with the dull sense of a loss that could never be made 
up to him. The rays of the evening sun came solemnly 
through the painted windows above his head, and fell in 
gorgeous colours on the opposite wall, and the perfect still- 
ness soothed his spirit by litde and litde. And he turned 
to the pulpit, and looked at it, and then, leaning forward 
with his head on his hands, groaned aloud. If he could 
only have seen the Doctor again for one five minutes ; have 
told him all that was in his heart, what he owed to him, 
how he loved and reverenced him, and would by God's help 
follow his steps in life and death, he could have borne it all 
without a murmur. But that he should have gone away for 
ever without knowing it all was too much to bear. — 'But 
am I sure that he does not know it all ? ' — the thought 
made him start — * May he not even now be near me, in 
this very chapel .'' If he be, am I sorrowing as he would 
have me sorrow — as I should wish to have sorrowed when 
I shall meet him again ? ' 

He raised himself up and looked round, and after a min- 
ute rose and walked humbly down to the lowest bench, and 
sat down on the very seat which he had occupied on his 
first Sunday at Rugby. And then the old memories rushed 
back again, but softened and subdued, and soothing him as 
he let himself be carried away by them. And he looked up 



at the great painted window above the altar, and remem- 
bered how when a Httle boy he used to try not to look 
through it at the elm-trees and the rooks, before the 
painted glass came — and the subscription for the painted 
glass, and the letter he wrote home for money to give to 
it. And there, down below, was the very name of the boy 
who sat on his right hand on that first day, scratched rudely 
in the oak panelling. 

And then came the thought of all his old school-fellows ; 
and form after form of boys, nobler, and braver, and purer 
than he, rose up and seemed to rebuke him. Could he not 
think of them, and what they had felt and were feeling, 
they who had honoured and loved from the first the man 
whom he had taken years to know and love ? Could he not 
think of those yet dearer to him who was gone, who bore his 
name and shared his blood, and were now without a husband 
or a father ? Then the grief which he began to share with 
others became gentle and holy, and he rose up once more, 
and walked up the steps to the altar ; and while the tears 
flowed freely down his cheeks, knelt down humbly and hope- 
fully, to lay down there his share of a burden which had 
proved itself too heavy for him to bear in his own strength. 

Here let us leave him — where better could we leave him 
than at the altar, before which he had first caught a glimpse 
of the glory of his birthright, and felt the drawing of the 
bond which links all living souls together in one brother- 
hood — at the grave beneath the altar of him who had 
opened his eyes to see that glory, and softened his heart 
till it could feel that bond ? 

And let us not be hard on him, if at that moment his 
soul is fuller of the tomb and him who lies there than of 

' [411] 


the altar and Him of whom it speaks. Such stages have to 
be gone through, I beheve, by all young and brave souls, 
who must win their way through hero-worship, to the wor- 
ship of Him who is the King and Lord of heroes. For it 
is only through our mysterious human relationships, through 
the love and tenderness and purity of mothers, and sisters, 
and wives, through the strength and courage and wisdom 
of fathers, and brothers, and teachers, that we can come 
to the knowledge of Him, in whom alone the love, and 
the tenderness, and the purity, and the strength, and the 
courage, and the wisdom of all these dwell for ever and 
ever in perfect fullness. 






Page 3. The Browns have become illtistno7is etc. : the allusion is 
to a series of letters signed ' Dr. Brown,' which Thackeray wrote 
for Punch, the famous comic paper, in 1 849. They were illustrated 
by Richard Doyle, whose best-known work is the outside cover of 
Page 4. yeomen'' s work : a proverbial expression for hard work. The 
yeomen, or small landholders, formed the backbone of English 
armies in mediaeval times. 

yew bow : the yew afforded one of the best ^kinds of wood for 
making bows. This is said to be one of the reasons why it was 
so commonly planted by our ancestors in churchyards. 

cloth-yard : an old measure for cloth, which became the statute 
yard of thirty-six inches. 

Cressy (1346) and Agincourt (141 5): two of the most famous 
battles in the Hundred Years' War between England and France. 

brown bill and pike : a bill was a kind of halberd, a pole about 
five feet long, with a steel head consisting of a broad blade with a 
projecting hook, like a bird's bill ; it was called a black bill or a 
brown bill. A pike is a pole with a narrow lance-head. 

Lord Willoughby : a soldier in the time of Queen Elizabeth. He 
fought in the Netherlands (died 1 601) and is the hero of an old ballad 
about 'brave Lord Willoughby.' 

culvertn and demi-culveriti : two kinds of cannon used in the 
sixteenth century. 

Rodney : a great admiral who defeated the French fleet off the 
West Indies in 1 782. 

St. Vinceftt : John Jervis, Earl St. Vincent, took his title from a 
victory over the French off Cape St. Vincent in Portugal, in 1797. 



Wolfe : an English general ; he took Quebec from the French 
in 1759. 

Moore : Sir John Moore commanded an army in Spain, which 
retreated before very superior forces and embarked safely after a 
battle at Corunna in which Moore was killed. ' The Burial of 
Sir John Moore ' is one of the best-known of English poems. 

Nelson and Wellitigtoii : the great heroes, on sea and land 
respectively, of the war against Napoleon. 

St. Maurs : 'St. Maur' is another way of spelling the name 
' Seymour.' The head of the St. Maur family is the Duke of 
Somerset ; of the Stanleys, the Earl of Derby ; of the Talbots, the 
Earl of Shrewsbury. 

sacer vales : an allusion to Horace, Odes, IV, ix, 25, where he 
says that there were many heroes before Agamemnon whose fame 
is unknown ' carent quia vate sacro,' ' because they have no sacred 
bard ' to sing of their great deeds. 
Page 5. throw his stone on to the pile : apparently an allusion to the 
custom amongst mountaineers of building a cairn, or pile of stones, 
on the top of a mountain summit, to show that it has been visited ; 
each successive climber adds his stone. 

no lumber : no useless flesh. The Lombards were the bankers 
and pawnbrokers of the Middle Ages ; hence 'lumber' came to mean 
things given in pledge, then out-of-date pledges and rubbish of any sort. 

as bad as Highlanders : the Highland clans, such as the Camp- 
bells and the MacGregors, used to be very closely knit in feeling 
against all rivals. 
Page 6. chambers : rooms in the various Inns of Court, which belong 
to societies of lawyers, are called ' chambers.' 

quixotic : romantically eager to redress wrongs, like Don Quixote. 

crotchet : a fanciful idea. 

the treadmill : a machine formerly used in prisons by criminals 
condemned to ' hard labour ' ; it is a wheel which is made to revolve 
by some one walking on steps set in its circumference. 

the workhouse : workhouses are institutions in which, under the 
Poor Law of 1834, the destitute are provided for, and in return are 
obliged to do work if they are able-bodied. 
Page 7. Royal county of Berks : ' royal ' because Windsor Castle, the 
most ancient royal residence, is situated in it. 



chalk hills : low rounded hills of chalk covered with grass are 
a very familiar feature in the south of England. 

the Farringdon-road station : no longer so called. ' The ' before 
the name of a station is no longer used ; when the book was written, 
railways were still a novelty. 
Page 8. a Great Exhibition : the first of its kind was held in 1851 
in the Crystal Palace, which had been erected for the purpose in 
Hyde Park. The Crystal Palace was afterwards moved to its present 
position on the southern edge of London. 

three pound ten : in English coinage twelve pence make one shil- 
ling, twenty shillings one pound. A shilling equals about twenty-four 
cents. I think the author must be exaggerating the cheapness of 
railway travelling in his time. 

holidays : a school and general word ; ' vacation ' is used at the 
universities and law courts. 

Mudie's library : the first great circulating library, founded in 1 842. 

sour krout : sauer-kraut, a favorite German dish consisting of 
cabbage pickled in a particular way. 

bog-bean : also called buck-bean, or marsh trefoil. An infusion of 
the leaves is sometimes given as a cure for dropsy and rheumatism, 
but the author is probably alluding to its use and that of wood-sage 
as a substitute for hops in brewing. 

the civil wars : between King Charles I and the Parliament, 
1 642- 1 649. 

the parish butts : England has been divided since very early times 
into small districts called parishes, each having its church and clergy- 
man and some local government. The butts were the ground used 
for archery practice ; the word is used now of rifle-practice ground. 
Page 9. Dulce domum: a Winchester song celebrating the delights 
of going home ; it was formerly used at Rugby too, but has for 
many years been replaced by the school song ' Floreat Rugbeia.' 

black Monday : the first day of term (no longer Monday, but 
Friday). The original 'black Monday' was Easter Monday, 1360, 
when an English army besieging Paris suffered terribly from a 
bitter storm. 

back-sword play : see page 39. 

ox-fences : strong fences consisting of a ditch, hedge, and 



gorse : a prickly evergreen shrub with a brilliant yellow flower, 
very common on uncultivated land in England. 'A gorse' here 
means a large clump of gorse. 

spinney : a small wood. 

poor Charley : the fox. It is not a common name, and the only 
other reference quoted in the dictionaries is from a book of the same 
period as ' Tom Brown.' 

the Old Berkshire : a pack of hounds. 

plough-land, woods : partridges are shot among the stubble after 
the crops have been cut; pheasants, in woods. 'Hunting' always 
means fox-hunting. 
Page id. We are born in a vale : ' " He was born into a wale," said 
Mrs. Gamp, with philosophical coolness; "and he lived in a wale; 
and he must take the consequences of sech a sitiwation " ' (Martin 
Chuzzlewit, chap. xlix). Hughes shows what would now be a very 
unusual ignorance of Dickens. 
Page ii. a tnagnijiceni Roman camp: this is the great earthwork 
of Uffington, 700 feet by 500 feet, overlooking the valley of the 
White Horse. Such earthworks are fairly common in England, and 
are usually ascribed to the Romans ; but many of them, including 
this one at Uffington, are probably of early British origin. 

Sappers and Miners : from 18 13 to 1856, what are now the Royal 
Engineers were called the Royal Sappers and Miners, the title 
' Corps of Royal Engineers ' being given only to their officers. 

Ordnance Map : a map produced by the Ordnance Survey, the 
official survev of Great Britain and Ireland, carried out by the Royal 
Engineers assisted by civilians. 

the Ridgeway : part of the Icknield Way, a Celtic and after- 
wards Roman road running east and west. 
Page 12. the battle of Ashdown : fought in 871; the site of the 
battle is a disputed point. 

the chroniclers : the monks who wrote the chronicles of early 
English kings. 

old Asser: a monk of St. Davids in Wales, afterwards Bishop of 
Sherborne, who wrote a history of King Alfred. 

the Alma : a little river in the Crimea, in Russia, where the first 
battle in the Crimean W'ar was fought, in 1853. It was a recent 
event when this book was written. 



Page 13. the great Saxon white horse : this is the figure of a horse, 
374 feet long, with its outline marked by trenches ten feet wide and 
two or three feet deep, cut in the turf down to the white chalk subsoil. 
Tradition says that it was carved by King Alfred to commemorate 
his victory at Ashdown, but many authorities think it is earlier. 

the Dragon'' s Hill : it has been suggested that the original name 
was ' Pendragon,' which is Celtic for ' chief of kings,' and that the 
story of the slaughter of the dragon arose when the old name had 
become abbreviated and its significance forgotten. 

St. George : the patron saint of England. 
Page 14. keeper : the gamekeeper, a man employed by a landowner to 
prevent unlawful hunting, fishing, or trapping on his land. 

cromlech : these prehistoric erections, which are found throughout 
the Celtic area in Great Britain, are probably sepulchral monuments. 

Way land Smith's cave: Wayland the Smith is Vaolund, the 
metal-worker amongst the gods in Northern mythology. This crom- 
lech was known as ' Welland's Smithy ' as far back as a.d. 955. 

In igo Jones : a famous architect (1573-1652). 

barrows : mounds of earth piled up over the remains of the dead. 

Page 15. printer's devil : printer's errand-boy. The word is also used 

amongst barristers : to devil for a barrister is to get up a case for him. 

public : public house, inn. 

the Blowing Stone : the stone is still there at Kingstone Lisle, 
but the house is no longer an inn. 

Toby Philpot jug : a jug made in the shape of a stout man in 
a long coat, knee breeches, and three-cornered hat, seated. It is 
also called an Uncle Toby. 

un : him, for ' it' 
Page 16. Utn: them, for 'they.' 

the Jiery cross : a wooden cross, charred and dipped in blood, 
which was sent round among the Highland clans to summon them 
to war. It is described in Scott's ' Lady of the Lake,' Canto III. 

plantations : small woods of trees planted by hand. 
Page 18. tnalignant : the Cavaliers, who supported Charles I in the 
Civil War, were called ' malignants ' by their opponents. 

Thomas Ingoldsby : the pseudonym under which Barham wrote 
the ' Ingoldsby Legends,' humorous stories in verse, which were 
very popular in Victorian times. 



the Pusey horn : a mounted ox-horn which tradition says was 
given as a token of tenure by King Canute, the Danish king who 
ruled from 1014 to 1035. 

the old moated grange at Compton : ' grange ' originally meant a 
bam, but was applied to country houses with farm buildings attached ; 
in early times these were often protected by a moat, or wide ditch. 

Marianas : alluding to Tennyson's ' Mariana,' which is founded 
on a phrase in Shakespeare's ' Measure for Measure,' III, i, 277. 
Page 19. Wessex : the land of the West Saxons, one of the kingdoms 
into which early England was divided. 

adsctiptus glebae : ' bound to the soil ' ; in feudal times the serfs 
were part of the estate, which they were not allowed to leave. 

chaw : that is, chaw-bacon (rustic). 

Gaarge R idler: the hero of the song which he proceeds to quote. 

Squire Brown, J. P. : ' Squire ' is a name popularly given to 
a country landowner. 'J. P.' stands for 'Justice of the Peace,' a 
magistrate utio tries minor legal cases at ' the Petty Sessions ' in 
company with his fellow magistrates, who form 'the Bench.' 

stnock frocks : a smock frock is a garment of coarse stuff, made 
like a long shirt with sleeves, which farm labourers used commonly to 
wear over their other clothes, though it is very rarely seen nowadays. 
It was often ornamented over the chest and back by little pleats, 
or folds, gathered in and held together by a stitching in elaborate 
patterns, a form of work to which the smock has given its name. 

coal and clothes clubs : clubs in which the members pay small 
weekly contributions and receive the value in coal or clothes at 
the end of the year. 

tnummers : men who go from house to house at Christmas 
in fantastic costumes and perform a kind of play. The custom 
survived in a few country districts till recent times. 

vernacular : dialect, everyday speech of a district. 

the ten-pound doctor : one of the characters in the mummers' 
play, so called because in the play his fee was ten pounds. 

mysteries : mysteries, or miracle plays, were a kind of drama 
in mediaeval times. The characters and events were taken from 
religious subjects. — for example, the Chester Mysteries of 1327 con- 
tained ' The Fall of Lucifer,' acted by the Tanners ; ' The Creation,' 
by the Drapers ; ' The Last Supper,' by the Bakers ; etc. 



Page 20. lieges : subjects. 

Assizes : sittings held by judges who go round in circuit to 
various important towns to try important cases. 

Quarter Sessions : sittings of the county court, in which county- 
court judges try minor cases. 

yeomanry : a force of volunteer cavalry, first embodied in the 
wars of the French Revolution, and still forming the cavalry of the 
territorial organization. 
Page 21 . don : a name given to fellows of a college at the Universities; 

derived from the Latin dominus. 
Page 22. The Queen sets us the exatnple : Queen Victoria used 
frequently to go to Balmoral, in Scotland. 

takes his juontJi's hop-picking : every autumn there is a great 
exodus of poor people from London to help in the hop-harvest in 

ijttperials : outside seats on a coach or diligence. The word 
has died out in English, but the outside of an omnibus or tram-car 
in French is still V imperial. 

are an abomination unto me — / cannot away with them: a 
Biblical expression from Isaiah (i, 13). 

Co7nme le lima^on . . . maison : ' like the snail, who carries 
about all his baggage and his furniture and his house.' 

holus-bolus : an obsolete mock-Latin slang phrase which the 
Dictionary of Slang asserts to be a nautical phrase, meaning ' helter- 
skelter ' ; here it means ' without picking and choosing.' 


Page 23. poet: Wordsworth. 

Page 25. cardinal and other: the cardinal virtues are Prudence, 

Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance, but only the first is used as a 

Christian name. Faith, Hope, and Charity, the remaining three of 

the ' Seven Principal Virtues,' are so used. 

drink whey : whey is the watery part of milk when separated 

from the curds (the thicker part from which cheese is made). 
Page 26. pattens : a thick wooden sole on a framework, worn to keep 

the feet out of the wet. They are not used now, but wooden clogs 

are commonly worn in Lancashire. 



bist : be'st thou, = art thou. 
muck reservoir: manure heap. 

hankering about : lingering about (for something desirable). 
pillion : a cushion on which a woman rode behind a man on 
Page 28. turnpike-roads : roads used to be kept in repair by tolls, 
which were collected at turnpike-gates set across the road. They 
were gradually abolished in the nineteenth century. Turnpike-roads 
were among the first roads to be paved properly for carriages. 

full-bottomed wig: a wig with long flaps coming down to the 

popjoying : a disused word of uncertain origin. Murray's Dic- 
tionary says it means ' to enjoy oneself,' but the only other passage 
quoted besides this one also refers to fishing ; it is from a book of 
H. Kingsley, published about the same period as ' Tom Brown.' 
Page 30. /'etty Sessions : see note on Squire Brown,/. P. (p. 418). 
t/ie wars : of the American Revolution or the French Revolution. 
single-sticks : an ash stick with a basket hilt, so called because it 
was used with one hand, while the quarterstaff, another favorite 
weapon, was much larger and was wielded by both hands. 
Page 31. a good wrestler at elbow and collar: elbow-and-coUar 
wrestling is a style in which each wrestler catches his opponent's 
elbow in one hand and collar in the other, and is not allowed to let 
go before the bout is finished. 

statute feasts : many towns in England were authorized by law 
to hold fairs; these fairs really originated in the dedication festivals 
of which the author speaks, but they were called statute fairs in 
distinction from those authorized only by use or custom. Feast day 
is still celebrated in many English villages. 
Page 32. the 7'illage : the description (which still holds good in almost 

all particulars) is that of UfRngton, where Hughes was born. 
Page 33. lancet windows: narrow pointed windows, shaped like a 
lancet, characteristic of Early English architecture. 
cheap facks : men who travel about selling things. 
fairings : things that are sold at a fair. See page 35, 
Page 34. buckskins : leather breeches. 

top-boots : boots with high tops, used for riding. 
fustian : a kind of coarse twilled cloth. 



look purely : look wonderfully well ; a provincial expression. 
' Purely ' means ' very.' 
Page 35. gossip : an old word for an intimate friend. 

Martinmas : the feast of St. Martin, November 1 1, was a popu- 
lar feast in old days. Beef salted down for the winter used to be 
called Martinmas beef. 
Page 36. tuppence : twopence, the price of entry to the show. 

muzzling in a flour-tub : trying to take some small object out of 
a tub of flour with the mouth. 
Page 39. castor : properly, a hat made from the fur of a castor, or 
beaver ; the word is also used, as here, of the tall silk hat, or ' top- 
hat,' which is derived from it. 
Page 40. drab breeclies : breeches of a thick brownish cloth. 
Page 42. tiuod : a dialect word for 'toad.' He means, 'I have as 

much money as a toad has feathers.' 
Page 43. shovel : a shovel hat; that is, a hat with a broad brim turned 
up at the sides and projecting in front like a shovel. It is only worn 
now by dignitaries of the Church of England. 
wosbird : an obsolete term of abuse. 

Sir Roger de Coverley : the hero of Addison's famous papers 
in the Spectator. 
Page 44. Shaw the Life-guardsman : a real ' old gamester,' a Wilt- 
shire man who won a prize for back-swording at the Scouring of the 
White Horse in 1 808. He was killed at Waterloo, 
Vizes : Devizes, a town in Wiltshire. 
Page 45. Yeast : a novel by Charles Kingsley, published in 1848. 
Page 46. all beer and skittles : a proverbial expression meaning ' all 
fun and enjoyment.' Skittles are the same as ninepins. 
palaver houses : debating societies. 

John : John Bull ; that is, England. He means that the country is 
' saddled ' with a Parliament which is really useless. 

7-ed-tape : official documents are tied up with red tape, and the 
word has come to be a symbol of official stupidity and delay. 
Page 47. the old Parliamentary-tnajority dodge : that is, a trick for 
getting votes. 

costennonger : a man who goes about with a cart, selling fruit 
and vegetables. A ' costard,' from which the word is derived, is a 
large kind of apple. 




Page 49. turnspit terrier : a kind of dog which was formerly employed 
in kitchens to turn the spit for roasting meat, by means of a cage 
in the form of a wheel, into which the dog was put. It had a long 
body and short legs, like a dachshund. 

bootless : fruitless, unsuccessful. 

head-boroughs : head constables, the chief police officers of the 
district. Compare Shakespeare's 'Taming of the Shrew,' Induction, 
scene i, 1. 1 2. 
Page 50. a ivild comt/ion : a great deal of land in England was held 
from the earliest times ' in common ' ; it belonged to no individual, 
but the people in the neighbourhood, the ' commoners,' had rights 
of grazing etc. on it. At the end of the eighteenth and beginning 
of the nineteenth centuries the greater part of common land was 
enclosed and became private property, but extensive commons still 
exist in many places. 

squatted : settled on the land without any legal right to do so. 

lords of 7na>iors : the lord of the manor, the chief landowner, 
would have certain rights over the common. 

publican : keeper of the public house, or inn. 
Page 52. lurcher: a cross between a greyhound and a sheep-dog; so 
called because it was commonly used by poachers, who were called 
lurchers because they ' lurched ' or lurked about. 
Page 53. lissom : active, supple. 

samplers : it used to be a common custom for girls to do, as a 
sample of their skill, a piece of fancy sewing containing their name, 
their birthplace, and a rhyme or text. 

ingle: that is, the ingle-nook, the corner at the side of a wide 
open fireplace. 

tnute inglorious Miltotts : a quotation from Gray's ' Elegy 
Written in a Country Churchyard.' 
Page 56. embrangle: mix up in confusion. 

the Crichton : James Crichton, born in 1 560, who was called 
' The Admirable Crichton,' was a Scotchman who travelled in France 
and Italy and roused universal admiration by his wonderful memory 
and power of argument. He is said to have been murdered at the 
age of twenty-five by his pupil, the son of the Duke of Mantua. 




true blue Tory : ' Tory ' is a political name originally given to the 
extreme partisans of the Crown at the end of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, and in modern times to the extreme Conservatives, those most 
opposed to change. True blue (fixed, unfading, or Coventry blue) 
is the Tory electioneering color in most parts of England. 
Page 57. vestry : a meeting of chief men in a parish to consult on 
parish business. See note on t lie parish butts (p. 415). 

close : an enclosed space ; used now principally of the precincts of 
a cathedral ; the word is applied at Rugby to the old playing-ground, 
which was formed out of several closes, or fields. 

niullioned windows : windows divided by vertical stone bars ; 
they are a characteristic of Elizabethan house-architecture. 
Page 58. Swiss Fa)?iily Robinson : a very well-known story of the 
adventures of a family cast on an island. The author was J. D. Wyss, 
a Swiss; it was published in 1813. 
Page 60. forms : here ' forms ' means benches. The word is also used 
in schools to mean classes. 

withdrew to the servants^ hall : the village schoolmasters of the 
time were simple, half-educated people. They would not go to the 
servants' hall nowadays. 
Page 62. ro2cnde?-s : an old game from which baseball developed. 

high-cock-a-loruitt : leap-frog. The player shouts ' High-cock-a- 
lorum, jig, jig, jig ' as he leaps over each back. 
Page 65. green rides : paths cut through a wood to allow horsemen to 
pass through it. 

pan-pipes : a simple home-made musical instrument. 
Page 66. private school : a school where small boys are prepared 
for the public schools. Hughes was sent to a private school at 
Twyford, near Winchester. 

alley-taws : a taw is a marble ; ' alley-taw ' is probably short for 
'alabaster-taw,' i.e. a real 'marble,' not one made of inferior stone. 
Page 67. public schools : not, as the name might suggest, government 
schools, but big boarding schools, too expensive for any but well- 
to-do people, where boys are educated for the Universities and for 
the various careers. 

ushers : the name was applied to inferior masters such as are here 
described ; they have fortunately long ceased to exist. 
Page 6g. gaby : fool. 



Page 70. primum iempus : first time, that is, first offence. 

bulls' -eyes : large round sweets flavoured with peppermint. 
the down : that is, Hazeldown. Chalk hills (see note on chalk 
hills, p. 415) are usually called downs, e.g. the North and South 
Downs; the word comes from the Old English dun, meaning ' hill.' 
Page 72. working : trying to induce. 


Page 74. Tally-ho coach : ' tally-ho ' was a common name for a coach 
at the time. ' Tally-ho ' is the huntsman's cry to urge on his hounds. 
the Boots : the man who cleans the boots and does odd jobs. 
Islington : a borough in the north part of London. The Peacock 
was a very famous coaching inn at which all north-going coaches 
Page 75. postchaise : a hired close carriage, driven by a postboy, or 
postillion, who rode on one of the horses. 

the Star : the coach that brought him up from Berkshire. 
Page 76. stout : a dark liquor like beer, but stronger. 
Page 77. flint and steel, and tinder: in days before matches were 
invented, the ordinary way of getting a light was by striking a 
flint on steel and kindling a piece of tinder. with the spark — a very 
laborious process. 

Trichinopoli : a city in India, famous for its tobacco. 
Page 78. the digamma : a Greek letter which had become obsolete in 
classical times. 

comforter : a woollen wrap to go round the neck. 
Petersham coat: a great-coat called after a certain Lord Peter- 
sham, who was a famous dandy about 181 2. 
Page 79. the town-made drag : the drag is the coach itself. 

guard: still so called on English trains; in omnibuses and 
tram-cars the word ' conductor ' is used. 

the hind boot : the place at the back of the coach in which parcels 
were carried. 

his late Majesty : William IV. 
Page 80. plaid : a rectangular piece of woollen stuff used by Scotch 
countrymen instead of an overcoat. Till quite recent times railway 
carriages were not heated. 



pikeman : man at the turnpike. See note on turnpike-roads (p. 420). 
Page 81. early purl : purl, according to the dictionaries, is hot beer 

flavoured with gin, sugar, and ginger. 
Page 82. huntsman''s hack : the horse on which he rides to the meet, 
where he would mount his ' hunter.' 

old pink : fox hunters commonly wear a bright pink tail coat and 
white riding breeches. 

the inn door : probably at Stony Stratford. 
Page 84. bagmen : commercial travellers. 

sharp-set: hungry. 
Page 86. way-bill : list of passengers. 

tap : taproom, where drink is served. 
burgesses : citizens. 

knock out of time : to-day this phrase is commonly shortened 
to ' knock out.' A boxer is knocked out of time, or knocked out, 
when he cannot rise to his feet within a certain time. 
Page 87. ^Masin' big horse and cattle fair : the visitor may still see, 
by the pavement in the old streets, square holes in which posts used 
to be put at the time of the fair in order to form a barrier to keep 
the horses and cattle away from foot passengers. Rugby now has 
a cattle market every week, and the autumn fair is not so important. 
Page 88. first-day boys : as coach accommodation was very limited, 
the school took several days to meet and disperse. 

Pats: Pat, short for Patrick, is a nickname for an Irishman, 

many of whom are named after St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. 

Page 89. the half: in those days, when travelling was difficult, the 

school year was divided into two halves ; now there are three terms. 

Page 90. yeoman chap : farmer. See note on yeo/nen's work (p. 413). 

cob : a thickset, sturdy horse. 
Page 91. county tnetnbers : members of Parliament for the county. 
Page 92. bowls: an old and very peaceful English game, still constantly 
played, in which differently weighted wooden balls, not quite round, 
are rolled at a smaller one. The nearest ones count, and the art con- 
sists in using the 'bias' of the bowl, by which it is made to roll in a 
curve and knock an opponent's bowl away. According to tradition, 
Drake was playing bowls at Plymouth when the Armada came in sight. 
cricket bats and wickets : for a description of a cricket match 
see Part II, Chapter VIII. 




Page 94. the Sclwol-Iwuse : the oldest and biggest of the boarding- 
houses, presided over by the Head Master. 

Dead-tnan's corner : really some two miles south of Rugby; the 
name has now passed out of memory. 

the spread Eagle : the chief inn at the time ; it is now the 
Eagle Temperance Hotel, in t"he market place. 
Page 96. one/ windoiu : a projecting window. 
Page 98. louts : town boys. 

the quadrangle : a courtyard round which are the School House 
and the old form rooms. 

go-io-ineeting roof : that is, Sunday hat. It would be a top-hat. 
The ' regulation cat-skin ' was also a top-hat, but of an inferior 
quality. It gave place to the straw hat as the ' regulation ' hat a 
few years ago. 

send in a note : boys can present a note signed by their house- 
master at authorized shops. The goods are then charged for in the 
bills at the end of the term. 
tile : a slang word for a hat. 
Page i 00. hoiu afelloiv cuts up : what sort of an impression he makes. 

half a sov : half a sovereign, ten shillings. 
Page 103. Grifnaldi : a horse named after a popular comedian of the 
early part of the nineteenth century. 

Amy Robsart : the ill-fated heroine in ' Kenilworth,' one of 
Scott's Waverley novels. 

Tom Crib : a famous boxer, the champion of his time ; he died 
in 1848. 
Page i 04. climbing-irons : an iron frame with spikes, which is strapped 
to the foot or below the knee ; it enables the wearer to climb a tree 
which affords no hand-hold or foothold. 
Page 105. praepostor : praepositor, 'some one placed over others.' 
The name is given to the boys in the sixth form (the highest form) 
who are responsible for the discipline of the school. 

reading: working; 'reading' is commonly used in this sense at 
the Universities. 

pastrycook's : shop where pastry and other sweet things are 




big-bearded man : it is hard to believe that a boy of nineteen 
could grow a big beard, but these days of clean shaving afford 
no experience, and old photographic groups show indisputably that 
boys could grow whiskers. 

tlie old verger : his name was Thomas Woollridge; he also appears 

in the book as 'Thos.' He was one of the menservants, and was 

called the verger because his duties included the care of the chapel. 

Page io6. Mentor: Mentor in Homer is the wise counsellor of 

Page 107. the big fives court : fives is a game in which a small hard 
ball is knocked about against the walls of a court. Ordinarily it is 
played with the hand (hence the name ' fives '), but in the big 
fives court they played 'bat-fives' against the walls of the school 
buildings opposite the east end of the chapel; the present chapel 
covers much of the space, but there are numerous fives courts built 
for the purpose in one corner of the Close. 
Page 108. little-side: the less important games, as opposed to 'big- 

the island : a mound which is probably an ancient British bar- 
row, or burial mound. In later times the monks from the great 
abbey of Pipewell, who owned the land, built a grange close to the 
tumulus, around which they dug a moat and filled it with water 
from springs in the gravel, in order to provide themselves with a 
fish-pond. Thus the tumulus became an island, and remained so 
until the moat was drained in 1847. It still retains the name. 

island fagging : a curious custom by which the uncongenial sur- 
face of the island (it is covered with trees) was planted with flowers 
and turf procured from neighbouring fields and gardens, in honour 
of Speech Day, which then took place in Easter week. The cus- 
tom died out when Speech Day was transferred to the summer (see 
page 390). 

scud : fast runner. 

hacks: kicks. 

in quarters : for this and other technical terms see the descrip- 
tion of the football match later on in this chapter. Besides its inter- 
est as part of a vivid story, the description is also interesting as 
showing an early stage in the game of Rugby football, which has 
spread from the School Close at Rugby over a large part of the 



English-speaking world. The modern game, played fifteen a side, is 
a very different game from that which is here described. 

cock of the School : champion boxer, and generally dominant. 

Page 109. the Doctor's wall : the red-brick wall which divides the 
School-house garden from the Close. 

Page hi. the three t?-ees : like the other elms in the Close, these 
were the remains of lines of hedgerow elms which had originally 
divided the ground into separate fields. The last of the Three 
Trees was blown down in a great gale in March, 1895, when nine- 
teen other elms also fell. 

Page 112. the lower fourth : Dr. Thomas James, an Etonian under 
whose guidance between 1778 and 1794 the school increased very 
much, divided the school into six forms on the Eton system, the 
sixth form being the highest. The sixth and fifth forms still exist, 
and in various subdivisions form the Upper School, but the other 
names have dropped out. 

Page i 13. the shell : this term, as the name of a form, came origi- 
nally from Westminster School, where it was given to the form 
that sat in a shell-like alcove in the great school-room. It still 
survives at Rugby, but as one of the lowest forms. 
will he, nill he : whether he likes it or not. 

fags : all boys below the Upper School are ' fags ' ; that is, they 
are liable to be employed by the sixth form to go on errands, clean 
their studies, and so on. 

Page i i 6. he of Russia : the Tsar. 

Page i i 7. /// the consulship of Plancus : in my younger days (consule 
Planco, Horace, Odes, III, 14). 

Page 118. petming : pressing, hemming in. 

Page 119. locking-up : boys have to be in their houses before the 
doors are locked in the evening, at a time varying with the season. 

Page i 20. toco : a slang word for chastisement. 

all Lombard Street to a china orange : a proverbial expression 
for heavy odds. Lombard Street in London is a banking centre. 

Page 122. Hill Morion : a village close to Rugby. 

in the Pyrenees : during the Peninsular War, 1808-1814. 

Page 123. fob'' s war-horse : Job xxxix, 19-25. 

Page 124. the colutnn of the Old Guard : the last desperate attack of 
the French at Waterloo. 




Page i 26. opodeldoc : a liniment for bruises. 

Page 127. Saily HarroiveWs : the shop stood on ground now occu- 
pied by part of the School buildings in the New Quadrangle. 

mu7-phies : potatoes, because ' Murphy ' is a common Irish name 
and potatoes are the staple food in Ireland. The word is obsolete 
now. For the ' tuck-shop ' see note on tuck (p. 438). 

alloivances : boys are allowed a shilling a week for pocket money. 
tick : a common slang word for credit. If you can't pay, you ' go 
on tick.' It is an abbreviation of ' ticket.' 
Page i 30. on Jicr slate ': slates and slate pencils were in common use 
for temporary writing before paper and lead pencils became so cheap. 
hind carrier of a sedan-chair: a sedan-chair was a kind of closed 
box in which one person could sit ; it was carried on poles, like a 
stretcher, by two men. 
Page i 34. time-hotwured ceremony : the custom of having new boys 
sing ('lamb-singing' it is called now) still survives in the School-house, 
on the third Saturday in each term. 
Page 136. The Leather Bottel : the words are of the seventeenth 
century ; the tune is traditional. 

the fugleman : the leader (a military term). 
the old sea sofig : written by Alan Cunningham in 1 8 1 o. 
Chesapeake and Shannon : a song celebrating the famous sea 
fight between these two ships off Boston in 1813. 

the boarders : the men who board a ship in an attack at close 
Page 138. the young uti : his younger brother. 

the Balliol scholarship : scholarships at Balliol College, Oxford, 
were and are more difficult to win than those at any other college, 
the competition being very keen. 
Page 139. this new Doctor: Doctor Arnold became head master in 

1828. Hughes went to Rugby in 1834. 
Page 140. cord t?vusers : cord, or corduroy, is a very strong ribbed 
cloth, made of cotton, with a velvety surface. 
a keen hand : a sporting person. 

harriers and beagles : hounds used for hunting hares. Eton boys 
still keep a pack of beagles. 



big-side Hare and Hounds : in hunting tlie hare the hunters go on 
foot; hence the name 'Hare and Hounds' is given to a game in 
which two boys are given a start and the rest run after them, tracing 
their course by scraps of paper thrown by the 'hares' as they run. 
See Chapter VH. 

Page 141. a public-school man : Arnold was at school at Winchester. 

Page 142. ain't : this was a common colloquialism amongst the edu- 
cated a generation ago; it is now used mainly by uneducated people. 

Page 143. law of the Medes and Persiatts : 'the law of the Medes 
and Persians, which altereth not ' (Dan. vi, 8). 

Page 144. dips: tallow-candles. 

cocktail : here the term is evidently used of the bottled beer. 

Page i 46. the buttery-door- : a buttery is a room in which provisions 
are kept. The word is still in use at the Universities. 

Page 147. their waistcoats : there was no regulation school dress at 
this period, and fancy waistcoats were much in fashion at the time. 

cap on head : masters still wear a university cap and gown in 
school and chapel. 

Page i 48. funk : are afraid. 

Page 149. Gone to ground : when a fox takes refuge in his 'earth,' or 
hole, he is said to 'go to ground.' 

Page 150. good plucked one: plucky, brave. The ' pluck ' of an animal 
is the heart and other organs ; hence ' pluck ' came to mean courage. 

Page 152. the rub: the difficulty — a word familiarized by the line 
in Hamlet, 

To sleep ! perchance to dream ; aye, there 's the rub ; 
In this sense it comes from a technical term in the game of bowls. 


Page 155. Bogle : I do not know why the shoeblacks, or boot-boys as 
they would be called now, were nicknamed Bogles. A bogle is a 
scarecrow, but there may have been no connection. The nickname 
is no longer used. 

a pull : a lucky thing. 

Page 160. Osbert : Hughes in later years, on one of his visits to 
Rugby, related this feat as having been performed by W. C. Oswell, 
who was afterwards a famous African explorer. 



the Greek text : it is still over the door in the new chapel. It is 

the first verse of Psalm cxxii, ' I was glad when they said unto me, 

Let us go into the house of the Lord.' 
Page 164. enough to sink a three-decker : a proverbial expression; 

the old wooden battle-ships were built with three decks. 

the big School: known now as Old Big School; several forms 

used to be taught in it at the same time. 
Page 168. Barby : a village four miles south-east of Rugby. 
Page 169. six minutes^ law : six minutes' start. 

wattle : the word ordinarily means a hurdle of woven rods, but 

here it seems to mean a thick hedge. 
Page i 70. making casts : a phrase used in hunting when the hounds 

are taken round in a wide circle, in order to pick up a lost scent. 

All the technical terms in Hare and Hounds are borrowed from the 

real sport. 
fencing : jumping fences. 
Page 172. the Cock : the 'Cock and Robin,' now turned into cottages, 

stood near the village of Dunchurch, about two miles from Rugby. 
all hope of coming in : that is, within the quarter of an hour 

after the hares. 
Page 173. the run in: the last part of the course, going straight to 

the rendezvous. 
Page 174. the Oxfo7'd coach: this coach ran from Oxford to Leicester, 

through Dunchurch and Rugby. 
Page 177. Nicias'' galleys : Nicias was an Athenian commander who 

fought in the Peloponnesian War. Dr. Arnold was a keen historian, 

and edited Thucydides' history of this war. 
Page i 78. twenty lines : twenty lines of poetry. 

cockfighting : two boys, each hopping on one foot and holding 

his hands against his sides, attack each other with their elbows. The 

one who puts both feet on the floor, or takes his hands from his 

sides, is beaten. 
Page i 80. cornopean : a cornet. The song is a well-known old hunting 

Journey-money : money for the journey home. 
Page 182. Bird's: one of the boarding-houses on the Hill Morton 

Road. The boarding-houses at Rugby other than the School-house 

are known by the name of the house-master of the time. 




Page i 84. the accidence : the more elementary part of grammar. 

Page 185. taking them up : going above them in class by answering 
questions which they had failed at ; the process is called ' taking 

Argils : the man with a hundred eyes, in Greek mythology, who 
was set by Hera to guard the cow into which she had transformed lo. 
their verses : the Latin verses which they had composed. 
their jackets ivhitened : that is, with chalk. 

Page 186. copies : exercises in Latin or Greek prose or verse. 

Page i 88. get construes of: get some other boy to translate. 

Page 189. Triste lupus stabulis : 'the wolf is a scourge [literally, 
a woeful thing the wolf] to the flocks' (Virgil, Eclogues, III, 80). 

Page 192. William Tell : the famous Swiss patriot who stood up 
against the Austrians in the fourteenth century. 

Page 193. was just coming out : the Pickwick Papers, by Dickens, 
were published in monthly parts in 1836- 183 7. 

Page 197. a leTv 0/ the School : a meeting of the school. In modern 
times only the L'pper School attend the levies, which are usually only 
formal. The Head of the School, no longer called captain, presides. 
sent to Coventry : when a boy is ' sent to Coventry ' no one 
will speak to him or have any dealings with him. The phrase ap- 
pears to have originated in the Civil Wars. Coventry was then 
a Parliamentary stronghold, and Clarendon records that some of the 
king's men, being captured, were sent to Coventry as a safe place. 

Page 203. out 0/ bounds : boys were not allowed to go outside a cer- 
tain radius round the school. Nowadays it is the town which is ' out 
of bounds,' with the exception of certain streets. 

Page 204. Penates : household possessions. The Penates were the 
household gods of the Romans. 

Page 205. the Derby lottery : the Derby, so called in 1780 after Lord 
Derby, a great patron of the turf, is a race for three-year-olds, and 
is run at Epsom in Surrey every May. It is the most important race 
of the year, and Derby day is a great popular festival for Londoners. 
making books : to make a book on a race is to arrange and record 
bets on or against various horses. 

Houses of Palaver : a contemptuous term for Parliament. 



Page 206. as a hedge : to ' hedge ' a bet is to safeguard oneself from 

loss on it by making other bets to compensate ; but Flashman's 

words are only an excuse. 

///i? f/zsy : ' tizzy ' is a slang word for a sixpence. It is a corruption 

of the old word ' tester.' The tizzy was his profit on the transaction, 

for he had paid a shilling for the lottery ticket. 
Page 208. coxiest : most impertinent. A slang word which has fallen 

into disuse in public schools. 


Page 219. Brownsover : a village close to Rugby on the north, the 
other side of the Avon. 

hurdle : a strong wooden frame about six feet long and three feet 
high, made of split stakes and interwoven withies. They are used 
for temporary enclosures, e.g. "for sheep. They were the original 
obstacles in hurdle-racing. 

Page 220. Kossuth, Garibaldi, Mazzini : three heroes in the struggle 
for liberty against despotism in the middle of the nineteenth century. 
Kossuth was a Hungarian ; Mazzini and Garibaldi were Italians, 
the former being a thinker and writer, the latter a man of action. 
The enemy in each case was Austria. 

Page 221. Ishmaelites : ' He [Ishmael] will be a wild man ; his hand 
will be against every man, and every man's hand against him ' 
(Genesis xvi, i 2). 

Page 224. ticket-of-leave men : convicts who are let out of gaol be- 
fore their sentence is served, as a reward of good behaviour, have to 
report themselves to the police at regular intervals. In Hughes's 
day the ' ticket of leave ' was granted without requiring previous 
good behaviour, efficient supervision of the men thus released was 
not insisted on, and the system worked very badly. 

Page 226. The river Avon : Shakespeare's Avon, which rises near 
Naseby and flows through Rugby and Stratford on Avon to join 
the Severn at Tewkesbury. Boys in the school no longer fish or 
bathe in it, but there is still a bathing place at ' Swifts,' where the 
little tributary, the Swift, which flows from Lutterworth (Wyclif's 
last parish), joins the Avon. 

the Planks : the planks have given place within recent years 
to a cement causeway. 

[ 433 ] 


Pages 226-227. SleatJis, Anstey''s^ Wratislaw" s : Sleath, Anstey, 

and Wratislaw were well-known Rugby names in the first half of 

the nineteenth century, both as boys and afterwards as masters. 
Page 227. tJiought no small beer of ilicinseh'es : small beer is poor, 

weak beer; hence the phrase, which means ' to think highly of oneself.' 
Page 228. night-lines : lines baited and left in the stream all night. 
Page 230. As / uft^ my companions : a well-known old English song 

called ' The Poacher,' which begins ' When I was bound apprentice 

in famous Lincolnshire.' It is the marching song of the Lincolnshire 


t/ie lotus-eaters : Odyssey, IX, 83-102. The lotus fruit made the 

eater forget home and friends and live in a state of dreamy pleasure. 

See also Tennyson's poem, ' The Lotos-Eaters.' 
eplieinerae : insects that live for a day. 
the gentle craft : fishing ; so termed by Isaac W^alton in ' The 

Compleat Angler,' published in 1653. 
Page 231. tnade a dead point : like a 'pointer,' a sporting dog which 

stops short when it scents a bird. 
Page 232. Mz^^.- an obsolete slang word for a nickname. See page 149. 
Page 234. two bob : ' bob ' is slang for a shilling. 
Page 235. of the school : the school against the outside wall of which 

the game was played. See note on the big fives court fp. 427). 
Page 236. the viinute-hand of the great clock : the old minute-hand 

of the clock, which is preserved in the school art museum, is 

inscribed with the name ' T. Hughes ' amongst others. 
Page 238. old Holmes, a sturdy, cheery praepostor : undoubtedly 

drawn from S. C. Holmes Hansard, who was afterwards Rector of 

Bethnal Green in East London and a friend of Hughes. 

the master of their form : the man meant is G. E. L. Cotton, who 

was afterwards Head Master of Marlborough and Bishop of Calcutta. 



Page 245. slings : for slinging stones. 

Marryafs novels : Captain Marryat was a naval officer who wrote 
very popular novels dealing with life in the navy. He died in 1 848. 



decline : a name by which consumption used to be known. 
George Arthur : an uncritical but wide-spread tradition said that 
the original of Arthur was Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, afterwards 
Dean of Westminster, who wrote Dr. Arnold's Life and other well- 
known books. Stanley left Rugby very soon after Hughes went 
there, and they were not acquainted till later years. Like Tom 
Brown himself, and East and others, the portrait appears to have 
been a composite one. 

Page 246. h still livi/ig : Mrs. Arnold died in 1873. 

Page 248. rooks : birds resembling crows, but feeding wholly on grain 
and insects. 

Page 255. Square-toes : square-toed boots and shoes were character- 
istic of pedantic, old-fashioned, and puritanical people. 

Page 256. the cave in Mount Horeb : i Kings xix. 


Page 268. the war: the war against Napoleon. There was a period 
of great industrial depression after its close in 181 5. 

Utopian ideas : ideas too fine to be realized in the world. ' Utopia,' 
which means ' Nowhere-land,' written by Sir Thomas More in 151 6, 
was the first in English of many books in which reformers have 
pictured an ideal state. 

Page 269. Chartism : the Chartists were a political society who in 
the early years of Queen Victoria's reign advocated electoral reforms 
embodied in ' The People's Charter.' The reforms, though sweep- 
ing, were not unreasonable, and several of them have long since 
become law; but they were considered revolutionary at the time, and 
the Chartists, who adopted a somewhat mutinous attitude, were 
the objects of much fear. 

Page 271. a Freethinking Club : 'freethinkers' was a common term 
in Victorian times for those who refused to accept the views of any 
religious organization. 

Page 272. Lord Grey and the Reform Bill : Lord Grey introduced 
the great Reform Bill of 1832, which only passed after a very fierce 
struggle ; it extended the franchise widely and reorganized the 
electoral districts. 

Page 273. Ahiaman : 1 Kings v. 

[ 435 ] 



Page 277. Gradus ad Parnassum : ' Steps to Parnassus,' a very well- 
known English-Latin verse dictionary, which gives synonyms and 
quotations from the Latin poets. 

as mad as a hatter : a proverbial expression. Compare Calverley : 

And such was he. A calm-browed lad. 

Yet mad, at moments, as a hatter : 
Why hatters as a race are mad 

I never knew, nor does it matter. 

Page 282. the Russian engineers at Sebastopol : under Todleben the 
defences of Sebastopol in the Crimea were so well organized that the 
town held out for eleven months against the French and English 

Page 283. 7noss-troopers : so called because their strongholds were 
among the ' mosses,' or marshes, on the borders of England and 
Scotland ; they were freebooters who made raids on the border 
farms and drove off the cattle. 

Bewick: a famous wood-engraver, 1 753-1 828. His 'History of 
British Birds ' contains some of his best work. 

Page 285. Phoebe Jennings : presumably the name of the landlady of 
some public house in the neighbourhood. 

Page 287. kestrel : a kind of hawk. 

Page 288. fidus Achates : ' faithful Achates,' in Virgil's ^neid, is 
the friend of i4Lneas. The phrase has become proverbial. 

bottling the s-vipes : an old Rugbeian of the period has recorded 
a School-house recipe for this process. The beer was poured into a 
bottle containing ' a dessert-spoonful of powdered rice, the same of 
brown sugar, half a salt-spoon of powdered ginger, and finally two 
raisins.' When the raisins rose to the top, it showed that the ale was 
fit to drink. 

Caldecott's Spinney : a small wood in the Avon valley a little below 
Rtigby ; it was called after the neighbouring landowner of the time. 

Page 289. Aganippe : a bathing pool in the Avon near Caldecott's 
Spinney. It was named after the fountain on Mt. Helicon in Boeotia, 
sacred to the Muses, and was used by the upper forms in the school. 
in the consulship of Plancus : see note on p. 428. 
vulgus : ' the common task.' It is explained on p. 290. 



Williajn of Wykehain : a famous prelate and statesman in the 
time of Edward III, who founded Winchester College (the oldest of 
English public schools) and New College, Oxford. 

Page 290. if the tradition has gone on till now : the vulgus has 
long become a thing of the past ; ' copies,' or exercises into Latin 
and Greek, are always pieces of English prose or verse. 

Page 291. elegiac lines : a favourite Latin metre, consisting of coup- 
lets of ' hexameter ' (a verse with six feet) and 'pentameter' (a verse 
with five feet). 

Page 293. experto crede : 'believe me who have tried it.' 


Page 297. pecking-bag : a strong bag for carrying stones for throwing 
at birds, or ' pecking.' 

Page 300. came down like a lamplighter : in the days when street 
Hghts were oil lamps, the lamplighter with his ladder was a familiar 
sight, and the expression became proverbial. 

Page 302. quickset : a quickset hedge is a thick hedge in which the 
bushes which form it are ' set quick ' (that is, planted alive). 

Page 304. Co))ie back, come back : a guinea-fowl's cry is just like 
these words. 

Page 306. shout ' On ' .• if a fag when ' out of bounds ' saw a prae- 
postor, he had to hide or run away until the latter shouted 'On'; 
he was then free to go on with what he was doing. If the call was 
'Back,' he had to come and answer for himself. The custom, long 
since obsolete, was called ' shirking.' 


Page 311. Surgebat Macnevisius : from verses in dog-Latin in the 
Eton school paper. ' Macnevisius rose up and soon cried out right 
readily. For your sake I will fight this bold Mactwolter.' 

BelVs Life: the popular sporting paper of the time, in which 
prize-fights were recorded. 

Page 312. Russians, or Border-ruffians : the Crimean War and the 
' border war ' of the settlement of Kansas were recent events when 
Hughes wrote. Hughes, of course, sympathized with the anti-slavery 
party in Kansas. 



Page 313. The shell : see note on p. 428. 

whole school-day : on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, lessons 

were (and are) given in the afternoon ; the other three afternoons 

are half-holidays. 
Page 3 1 4. nem. con. : nemine conttadicente (no one speaking against 

the motion). 
Page 31 5. oAAa (tu etc. : 'Then wouldst thou soothe such and refrain 

them, by the gentleness of thy spirit and by thy gentle words ' 

(Iliad XXIV, 771-772). 
Page 317. Slogger: 'to slog' is slang for 'to hit hard.' 
Page 321. peels well: looks in good condition when he takes his 

clothes off (a phrase from the boxing-ring). 

tuck : eatables bought from shops. The commonest modern slang 

word is ' stodge.' 
Page 322. thunder-ajid-lightning waistcoat : a waistcoat with a bright 

streaky pattern. 
Page 325. W^e've got the last : we can hold out longest. Cf. p. 362. 
Page 327. his sponge will soon go up : the signal from the ' second' 

that his man gave up the fight. 
go to Bath : a proverbial slang expression meaning ' get out of 

the wav,' ' make yourself scarce.' Originally it meant 'you are mad,' 

for the insane as well as the sick used to go to Bath for treatment. 
Page 330. gravelled: at a loss for an answer: the phrase comes from 

a ship being ' gravelled ' when she runs aground. 
Page 332. Eveti Thackeray: he is apparently alluding to a sketch 

called ' Mr. and ]\Irs. Frank Berry ' in the first part of which he 

describes ' The fight at Slaughter House ' (that is, Charterhouse). 


Page 335. the twetity : the form next below the Sixth; so called 
because originally it was limited to the number twenty. 

Page 336. Marylebone match : the Marylebone Cricket Club, in 
London, ' the M. C. C.,' is the oldest cricket club and legislates for 
the game. This match was the great event of the season before 
inter-school matches were introduced. 

Page 337. When I came : the passage is from a sermon preached by 
Dr. Arnold in October, 1835. 



Page 339. on Monday : our grandfathers were rather vague about 
medical matters. It would be no easy matter to name a dangerous 
fever which in spite of ' several cases ' was not infectious ; and it 
makes one wonder to hear that Arthur, after a desperate illness 
culminating in a ' crisis ' on the tenth day, is lying on a sofa by the 
open window on the thirteenth day ' almost well,' and travels the 
next day in an open carriage ! 
Page 340. pie-match : a pie-match was a match at the end of which 

the losers had to give the winners a ' feed.' 
Page 341. the twenty-two : the twenty-two players next best to the 
first eleven. 

dot and go one : the expression describes the gait of a man with 
a wooden leg, which makes the dot. 
Page 344. Don't gammon : don't talk nonsense. 

* Billy Taylor ' .• a very popular song of the period. 
Page 350. in Ezekiel : chap. i. 
Page 354. combes : deep, narrow valleys. 

cairngorm : a kind of yellow quartz found about Cairngorm, a 
mountain in Scotland. 

Tors : a name given to the rocky tops of hills on Dartmoor. 
Page 355. Tom's wicket: when he was playing cricket for practice. 
slow twisters : slow balls that twist when they pitch on the ground. 
Surrey heroes : Surrey was one of the earliest counties to take 
up cricket. 


Page 357. would have had the sack : would have been expelled. 
Page 358. old Momus : the nickname of some master. Momus was 
the Greek god of fault-finding. 

locus poenitentiae : an opportunity for repenting (of his resolve). 
Page 360. you Goth : the Goths were a barbarian tribe who invaded 
the Roman Empire and under Alaric sacked Rome in 410. 

churchwarden windows : churchwardens are parish officials part 
of whose duty is to look after the fabric of the church. In the days 
before the revival of interest in Gothic architecture they often made 
very ugly and unsuitable repairs and alterations ; hence this phrase. 
Sheridan Knowles : a well-known dramatist of the period, whose 
works have already passed into oblivion. 

[ 439 ] 


Page 362. came Old of Egypt : that is, renounced his old ways 
(alluding to the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt). 

a snob : the word generally means an under-bred person who 
pretends to be well-bred : but here East uses it as a term of general 
contempt ; a modern boy would say ' a rotter.' 

Page 363. under the line : it is a stringent rule in boxing that no 
one is to hit ' below the belt.' 

Page 364. to hold a grampus : a grampus is a sea animal, like a por- 
poise but larger. It is now commonly called ' killer,' or ' killer whale.' 

Page 369. confirmed: after 'confirmation' by a bishop a person be- 
comes a full member of the Anglican Church. 

Page 371. uncovenanfed mercies : the mercies of God toward those 
outside the covenant, that is, not members of the Church. 

Page 373. the great grifn tnan : Dr. Arnold's nickname in the school 
was ' Black Tom.' 


Page 376. the Crimea and distant India : the Crimean War was from 
1853 to 1856; the very hard-fought Sikh wars, from 1845 to 1849; 
and wars in Sind and Burma in 1842 and 1852. 

Page 377. our own Rugby poet : Arthur Hugh Clough, 1819-1861. 
He was in the School-house from 1829 to 1837; he was a great 
friend of Matthew Arnold the poet, son of Dr. Arnold. 

Page 378. exhibitions : scholarships given by the school to boys who 
are going to the Universities. 

IVellesburn : a village near Stratford on Avon. 
Lord's giound : the ground of the M. C. C. in London. See 
note on Marylebone match (p. 438). 

Page 379. old Mr. Aislabie : Benjamin Aislabie was Honorary- 
Secretary of the M. C C. from 1822 to 1841. 
the Three Trees : see note on p. 437. 
BelTs Life : see note on p. 437. 

Page 380. Lawrence Sheriff: a native of Rugby. He migrated to 
London, where he set up a grocer's shop and prospered under 
Queen Elizabeth. He left property to found a school in his native 
place in i 567. 

Page 38 1 . took their places at the wicket : the account of the cricket 
match which follows is naturally full of technical term.s, which will 



be familiar to those who know the game and will remain a mystery 

to those who have never seen it, in spite of any explanation which 

can be offered on paper. I shall therefore not attempt to give one. 

The game has developed in many ways since the days of Tom 

Brown, but is the same in all essentials. 
Page 383. slow cobs: the term 'cob' has disappeared in cricket; it 

meant a ball. ' Cob ' is an old word for a round lump. 
toppi7tg: a slang word for 'splendid.' 
Page 388. stumps must be drawn : the wickets are pulled out to 

show that the game is over. 
Page 389. m s ma// gardens : see note on is/atid fagging (^. 427). 

turf-cart: at the time of 'island fagging,' fags used to cut turf 

in the neighbouring fields and haul it to the island in a small cart. 
Page 393. such a defeat is a victory : in Tom Hughes' last match, 

played in the Close on June 17, 1841, the M. C. C. won by sixteen 

runs in the first innings, the School at the end of the day wanting 

fourteen runs with one wicket to fall. 
Page 394. snuggery : a snug, comfortable living room. 

a dripping-cake : a cake made with dripping (fat that drips off a 

joint of beef when it is being roasted) instead of butter. 
Page 395. King's Co/lege Chape/ : one of the most beautiful buildings 

in Cambridge University. 

Nestor: the oldest of the heroes who led the Greeks at the 

siege of Troy. 
Page 400. Thomas Carly/e himse/f : he alludes to Carlyle's famous 

lectures on ' Heroes and Hero-worship.' 
Page 402. was iti the train : the line from London to Birmingham, 

passing by Rugby, was built in 1839. The first train on it went at 

twenty miles an hour. 


Page 404. the heathery scrub which tnet the shingle : the rough 
heather-covered ground coming down to the pebbly beach. 

Corn Laws: the Corn Laws were laws which imposed duties 
on all grain entering the country; the object was to benefit the 
agricultural interest by keeping up the price of corn. They were 
naturally very unpopular in the manufacturing districts, and were 
finally abolished in 1846. 

r 441 ] 


the Goodwood : a famous horse-race run at Goodwood in Sussex. 

drawn : withdrawn from the entry. 

amiss : not in good condition. 
Page 407. the Caledonian Canal : this canal forms a great waterway 
across Scotland by linking the lochs which lie in the great rift 
between the Firth of Lome and the Moray Firth. 

Under the altar in the chapel : the present chapel is larger than 
the old one, and Arnold's grave lies at the foot of the chancel steps, 
marked by a plain stone engraved with his name. He is the only 
head master buried in the chapel, for the vaults which he had caused 
to be made were afterwards closed. 
Page 408. the gadfly in the Greek legends : the allusion is to the 
story of lo, who, being beloved by Zeus, was changed by Hera into 
a heifer and pursued by a gadfly. 
Page 411. the great painted window above the altar : it was brought 
by Dr. Arnold from Aerschot in Belgium at a time when that parish 
was selling some of the stained glass in order to raise funds to 
restore the church — the church which the Germans have now 
destroyed. It is a beautiful sixteenth-century window representing 
the Adoration of the Magi. 

who bore his name : Matthew Arnold's beautiful poem ' Rugby 
Chapel,' which is the finest of all tributes to his father's memory, 
was written in November, 1857, the year that 'Tom Brown' was 

[442 J 

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